Lily Evans stared at the newspaper, her red hair dull and lifeless even the sun gleaming into the breakfast room in the secure ward of St. Mungo's, not even the sun could give it a gleam. She hadn't had it cut in years, it had always been long but now it was ridiculously long. Today her freedom had finally been granted to her, and she was waiting on James coming to get her. She had been out only three times on day releases, with supervision in the nine years that had passed. Her daughter's graduation and wedding as well as her sons wedding to Susan Bones. To say her family wasn't what she had dreamed it would be, would be putting it lightly. She'd always imagined her son marrying Ginny Weasley, a fellow Gryffindor and Order member, and her daughter she'd imagined her marrying into the Longbottom family. Furthering the Potter name and connections, making sure everyone knew it was as light as could be. The Longbottoms were the connections; the Weasley's while they had no financial comforts were all hard workers and anti-dark. She hated Susan Bones, she had interrupted her every time she tried to talk to her son at his wedding, it had been the first time she saw him in years and she couldn't let them talk? She hadn't seen him or the family since, James brought her pictures of her grandchildren when he visited but that was it.
"Lily?" called one of the Medi-witches, giving her a small smile as she did for all the patients, it was one of pity mixed with someone who was genuinely good natured enough to care about those inside St. Mungo's hospital. "James is here, its time." she had a bag of her belongings in a clear plastic bag.
Lily gave one last glance at the window, before she stood up and followed Janine out of the room; she'd been in here so long it was almost terrifying to move knowing she was leaving. At the same time she didn't want to stay, she wanted her family back, she wanted to actually see her grandchildren and not just photos of them, help raise them like she'd raised her children.
They walked through the corridors in silence, before long they reached the family room where James was currently waiting. James took the bag from Janine, giving her a thankful smile and a nod of appreciation.
"Did you come alone?" Lily asked tentatively, sometimes she didn't know what was going to set James off so she tended to ask things with uncertainty. Not reacting to the Medi-witch closing the door to give them privacy still staring beseechingly into James.
"Yes, yes, I did," James replied, his hair was shaved shorter than normal, and he was dressed to impress. "We have to go, I have a…meeting to attend," he added, lying slightly, he was meeting up with his lovely girlfriend who he was hoping would become his fiancé, although she was kind of annoyed at him right now. He'd bought a small one bedroom cottage for Lily at Hogsmeade and she was acting as though he'd betrayed her. There were many things he might be but a cheat wasn't one of them. He didn't want Lily living with him but he couldn't in all good conscience let her be homeless. He felt to blame at her mental state, if he hadn't been so blinded himself he could have got her help when Voldemort attacked, preventing all this heartache.
"Where are Nick and Roxy?" Lily enquired as James opened the door and they began walking the rest of the way out of the hospital now that they were past the secure wing.
"At work," James explained, Nick was now an inventor, he had just created the newest broom in the market, and it was doing very well better than the Nimbus. Roxy worked in the brand new department in the Ministry of magic, that was created for the sole purpose of keeping children safe, its counterpart in the Muggle world was called social services, they'd tried calling it Peverell services but Harry had shot them straight down, just because he had worked hard to get the department up and running didn't mean he wanted it named after him. There was a meeting in the Wizengamot right now for the final deciding of the name he wasn't sure if Harry was there or not.
"Oh, when will I see them?" Lily asked breathing in the fresh air coming from the sliding doors.
"I'm not sure," James admitted he hadn't quite been able to tell her that Roxy and Nick had moved on with their lives and they didn't want to see her. He'd made excuse after excuse and Lily for someone so bright just didn't seem to realize her children were grown adults now and were just getting on with their lives, they were married they had kids and careers. To think he'd been terrified his two other kids would pay for the sins of him and Lily…well it simply wasn't true and for that he would be forever grateful.
"I see," Lily became despondent again, this was a big day, she was finally free from the hospital, their lives could get back to normal, and she could prove herself to them so why weren't they coming to see her? No, they were just hard workers, just like her and James; she always knew they would be.
"I'm going to Apparate us," James said, grimacing at the sight of the press taking pictures, honestly he hated those hounds. Grasping a hold of Lily's wrist he Apparated them away before anyone could get too close, thanking his lucky starts he was an Auror so he had the ability to do so in front of the hospital while patients and reporters had to walk towards the entrance.
"Wow, everything's changed! Where's the Shrieking Shack?" Lily said in awe as she looked around, there were far more buildings than she remembered it having. It wasn't the small place where students could come now it was utterly thriving with activity and children.
"It was knocked down," James said, continuing to walk towards the cottage. "It's now a children's home,"
"Who would think of something like that?" Lily scoffed, "It seems silly to me, and I've never seen a homeless child in the magical world, its money that could have been better spent elsewhere."
"They stayed in Knockturn Alley," James answered quietly, staring at the building that had replaced the horrible shack - which had held a lot of fond memories of his younger years. His eyes dimmed just remembering the last few weeks, how many kids they'd found down there, how many had ran away, how many didn't have family; the magical world had completely let them down in more ways than one. There was hope for them now; Headmistress Minerva McGonagall was trying her hardest to see about getting those who were at the right age into Hogwarts when term started again. It wasn't going to be easy, they could only sponsor so many people, and money would need to be found elsewhere for the rest of the children. Harry was already sponsoring over a dozen children at Hogwarts, all of them werewolves, things had changed so much for them over the years.
"Hey James!" called Sirius, rushing over, his hair greying just slightly due to age. "Hello, Lily." he added upon seeing her feeling a little awkward he hadn't seen her in what? Over ten years.
"Hey, what are you doing here?" James asked in surprise, "Where's Regulus, Phoenix and Orion?" Sirius had three children with Remus and despite Remus' constant worry, none of the kids had the gene - they weren't werewolves. Two boys and a girl, despite his hatred of his family Sirius had stuck to tradition and given them all names of stars. Regulus Alphard Lupin-Black and his twin Orion Remus Lupin-Black and the adorable little girl they had name Phoenix Andromeda Lupin-Black. Although they were usually just called Black's, which wasn't right, the Lupin name had been just as pure as the Black's until Lyall Lupin had fallen in love with a Muggle he'd loved dearly. Remus didn't seem to mind.
"They're at Fortescue's with Remus," Sirius chuckled, "You should have heard Reg, Moony totally walked into that trap,"
"You're married?" Lily blinked unable to comprehend what she was seeing. "You never seemed like the marrying kind," she added a little dazed.
"Married with three kids," Sirius said wryly, "I never thought I'd see it myself, Merlin can you imagine how we would have reacted as kids if we were told everything that would happen?" he'd also been sober for eight years, he didn't drink, not after that close call at Harry's wedding, he'd realized he had to stop or he was just going to continue downward on a spiral out of control. Remus agreeing to have a child with him had been the deciding factor, and he didn't regret it - not even a little bit.
James just grinned, "We need to get going, and I've got a meeting afterwards."
"A meeting huh?" Sirius said, his blue eyes twinkling deviously. He had been with James when he got the ring; he'd wanted a fresh start with a new ring and new history. So he had gone and bought one just for Marian McKinnon, Marlene's mother Mary McKinnon it turned out had a child while she was still a teenager attending Hogwarts. The family had sent the child off to distant relatives, James wasn't even sure if Marlene had known she had an older sibling by four years. She certainly had never mentioned one, she had been killed along with what they all thought as her entire family, during the war, nobody knew who exactly did the deed but it was suspected that Travers did it as he was arrested for their murders. Marian had come to see where her family had lived, and to finally sort out the finances at Gringotts and he'd asked her who she was, that she reminded him of someone and the rest was history, she'd stayed here, for him, and he was finally happy. He had someone strong to lean on, someone who stuck by him even when he admitted everything he'd done - knowing someone would tell her or the papers would and she had sat and listened without judgement asking a few questions here and there. "Alright, I'll let you go, I need to get back before Remus starts worrying, I just dropped of my approval to sponsor six of the kids, they'll be joining everyone at Hogwarts." a prideful glint in his eyes.
"I'll see you all tonight at dinner?" James asked, questioning whether their monthly Sunday get together was still on.
"You bet!" Sirius said waving before he was off, still moving towards Fortescue's.
"He…he…he got married?" Lily gaped at Sirius' back totally shocked, "Kids?" turning to James bewildered. It was against everything Sirius believed, she'd always thought he'd be a bachelor then that was wiped when he started dating Remus but still…marriage and kids? "Why didn't you tell me any of this?"
"You never asked," James stated calmly, "Come on, let's get going."
"Why are we here in Hogsmeade anyway?" Lily asked curiously, her mind still reeling at the news of Sirius having kids.
"Come on, this is the cottage," James said, unlocking the door, leaving it open and entering the cosy home.
"You live here now?" Lily asked, it looked lovely but it had a really unlived in feel to it.
"No," James replied, sighing softly, "I bought the cottage for you, it's in your name, and the deeds are on the kitchen table,"
"Why? What was wrong with me using the place I was before…?" Lily queried.
"It's a Potter property, it belongs to Roxy now, and this is yours, your own place." James replied, "I'm sure you'll be comfortable here." she wasn't a Potter anymore, he wanted to keep his families properties in the family, there wasn't that many of them, and Roxy had been living there for years now with her family. She'd married Dennis Creevy, of all people, but he'd grown into his looks and was actually really smart, he was able to keep up with Roxy intellectually, but when they'd married Dennis had given up his last name and taken on Roxy's, Roxy had just found out she was pregnant before the wedding, and Dennis had suggested it, he wanted his kids to have a good name, one that wouldn't see them ridiculed because they were 'Mud blood' and Roxy had agreed. With him giving the blessing it hadn't been a difficulty, it just meant more Potters. He placed the keys in her hand, he'd done his part, what more could anyone expect of him? He couldn't give up his whole life for her; Merlin only knows how she was going to react when she found out about Marian.
"Of course," Lily said blankly, wondering why they weren't staying at the manor together, there was more than enough room. "Thank you," she said softly, he was still as handsome as ever. Moving towards him, she was very surprised when he lifted his hands up to stop her.
"Don't Lily," James said, he didn't want her near him, and he wasn't going to give Marian any reason to distrust him.
"I but I thought…you waited for me…" Lily's green eyes gleamed with confusion.
"No, you mistake guilt and old fondness for something that isn't there anymore, Lily, I've moved on," James explained, perhaps it was better coming from him before she found out some other way.
"You're seeing someone?" Lily questioned, her heart breaking, she had been so stupid to think James still loved her.
"I am," James answered honestly, "I'm happy…I'm going to ask her to marry me,"
"I see," Lily replied, her smile brittle, "Well, you have a meeting, I don't want you to be late because of me, go on, I'll be fine," she managed to keep her feelings at bay as James nodded and walked out looking awkward. Pressing her lips together she closed the door to her new small home, the lump building up until she couldn't hold the tears at bay as she watched James walk down to the gate and close it before he was gone and Lily had a feeling it was for good this time.
"Marian!" James called, making his way over to the restaurant he had booked.
"Hey, you're late, they've given our table away," She said, her brown hair tied up in a small pony tail, her blue eyes twinkling brightly showing she wasn't angry at him. "I ordered food to take away, how about we go and eat at home?" she suggested, she could see how strained James was, it was how he always was after visiting Lily and she honestly didn't understand why he put himself through it, well she did, it was some sort of penance for the things he'd done wrong in life.
"I'm so sorry," James groaned feeling frustrated, it had just taken a lot longer than he'd anticipated.
"Its fine," Marian insisted, "I'll go get it and we can head home," she stayed with James in Potter manor, the property her family had used had been partially destroyed when the Death Eaters had attacked their home. It had been left to become derelict for over thirty nearly forty years. She and James had salvaged what they could, that wasn't moss or covered in something she really didn't want to identify, and let it be torn down. Another new modern property had been put in its place, taking almost a year to build, it was currently being rented out with the aid of Gringotts, and there was just no point to it lying empty. Since then two others had been built on the land, both rented.
"I've got it," James insisted, wandering over before she had the chance to move.
Marian shook her head, biting her lip as she watched him, she had news to give him and she had no idea how he would react. They'd been together for a long time, dating for a long time especially by pureblood standards. She definitely didn't want to lose him, but she couldn't keep it a secret from him. Putting a smile on her face as he turned back to her, truthfully she was glad they weren't eating at the restaurant; she'd rather tell him at home.
"Ready to go?" James said happily enough, his tenseness evaporating as it always did eventually after a visit with Lily.
"Of course," she replied, and both of them Apparated away.
"Tish?" James called as soon as they returned home.
"What can Tish so for Master James?" Tish enquired her long flapping ears excited.
"Bring plates and glasses through, we're eating here instead," James asked, putting the food on the table.
The House-elf popped away to do as James asked.
"How did it go?" Marian asked.
Instead of answering James sat down, watching the woman he loved sit opposite him, "I know you don't understand why I go to visit her, for the longest time I thought she was the only one for me, she was beautiful, smart, and anything she asked for I gave her. I even let the House-elves go because she felt uncomfortable with them here, because she wanted to be the one to cook and clean. I thought after she and I divorced I'd be alone, and I was alright with that, I felt as though I deserved it. I was fine with helping my kids grow up as they should have, then I met you. You stirred so many feelings within me that I hadn't felt in so many years; I realized I hadn't been happy with Lily since before my daughter was born. I felt as though I had to be perfect though and that's what I tried to be. You accept me, all of me, and I love you for that." James said honestly, "I do not feel anything for Lily, I just had to help her, I feel partially responsible for her mental state, if I had just noticed something was wrong…I could have gotten her help a long time ago. I couldn't leave her to be homeless, I'm just not that sort of person, but if you want me to swear an oath that I don't love her then I'll do it in a heartbeat. It's you I love…" James removed the pouch holding the gold diamond engagement ring, opening it he removed the ring and took a deep breath; he was opening himself and leaving himself vulnerable he hadn't done that in such a long time. "Will you marry me?"
Marian gasped in shock, her hand going to her mouth; she hadn't seen that coming a mile away. Her other hand snuck to her stomach, she had to tell him before she answered him, would he still want to marry her? "I…need to tell you something…it might change your mind."
"You're not already married are you?" James asked his heart sinking, was that why she'd stayed with him so long despite the fact he hadn't proposed? Oh, he knew it was a long time, too long, but he'd had to be sure before he did anything like that again.
"No, no nothing like that, Merlin no," she exclaimed shaking her head adamantly.
"Oh," James felt elated relief flow through him, "When what do you need to tell me?"
"We forgot the contraception spells three weeks ago…" she informed him letting him connect the dots.
James' jaw dropped, his eyes going comically wide, and if it were any other situation Marian would have laughed at him in amusement. "Yo-yo-you're pregnant?" he stuttered out, his heart dropping, he felt sick, nervous and horrified all in one go.
"Yes," Marian admitted, breath trembling slightly, James was just staring, why was he just staring? She wanted some sort of reaction from him. "If you don't want to get married now I understand…" and she did, James still felt so much guilt over what had happened to Harry. He'd taken blame that belonged to Lily and accepted it as his too. Lily had been the one to arrange the tutors, James had worked hard as an Auror, he had entrusted those tasks to her, and when he'd found out he had gotten a tutor for Harry, he should have known he always said, he'd ignored his son and there was absolutely nothing that could make it right.
"NO!" James said immediately, causing Marian to feel as though she'd been punched, "I do, I still want to get married…and I swear…I swear I'll be a good dad, I won't let them down, I promise. I'll even cut down my hours to part time, so I can spend more time with the baby…I'm going to be a dad.." he murmured, he was going to have a child who was younger than his grandchildren. He vowed he would never let this one down; he would do it perfectly this time. "Why would you want me near a baby after…" he was genuinely surprised.
"What you did was wrong, you know that, you don't need me telling you, but you made a mistake, you learned from it and apologised its more than some would do. That and I would never let you treat a child of ours the way you did Harry, I would leave first, but I trust you," Marian explained, clutching his hand in hers. James just nodded already knowing Marian would do just that. She'd said that during their quite brutally honest conversation about his kids and what he and Lily had done. It was the only time she'd mentioned kids, 'if I'd had any kids being treated like that I would have taken them and I would have walked' he'd never even thought to ask her if she wanted any, he'd already had kids, but she hadn't she'd put her career first. "I love who you are now, not who you were back then."
James felt over the moon, he shakily picked the ring back up that must have fallen at some point, and slid the ring onto her finger. Leaning over he passionately kissed her, "Thank you," he whispered reverently, with her his past didn't seem to matter so much, it didn't get on top of him. He felt as though he was looking to the future now instead of always dwelling on the past. He owed it all to her, and he never wanted to be without her - not a second more.
Marian just smiled at him, their meal forgotten as they shared a very intimate moment together.
The Black Residence
"Reg, Nix, Ori get down here now!" Sirius shouted, ignoring that Remus was killing himself with laughter in their kitchen in stitches. His three children came down the stairs; his daughter was first to lose control and begin laughing which caused the chain reaction of her older brothers laughing with her. "What do you have to say for yourselves?" he was flashing neon yellow and green!
They just continued to chortle and laugh at his expense.
"You had better have the counter curse or you're grounded," Sirius informed them, his lips pursed so he didn't laugh along with them the little miscreants that they were.
"Well…what goes around comes around," Remus finally said, he was very health and happy, especially compared to how he had been ten years prior.
"Do not encourage them," Sirius whined, "Look at me!" he was green with neon yellow hair and he had everyone coming over for a visit.
"Don't worry dad," Phoenix eventually said, she unlike her brothers had Remus' hair, but they all had the prominent grey eyes that belonged to the House of Black. "It will fade away in a few minutes." Regulus and Orion had Sirius' wavy locks.
"It had better," Sirius warned them, Remus laughing at him was bad enough without James doing it too.
"Can we go over and visit Lucian?" Regulus asked the three kids had all been to sanctuary a lot over the years, and much to Remus' despair they had become fast friends with Lucian Greyback, of all the people it had to be him. Remus worked at the sanctuary, at first teaching them everything while Harry worked on getting them admitted into Hogwarts. It had taken over seven years for the agreement to be set, after those seven years he stayed around continued to teach those that wanted to further their education after N.E.W.T's which he enjoyed a lot more - it was a challenge he relished.
"Tomorrow, everyone's coming to dinner, they'll be here in a few minutes," Sirius told them, he might not be a harsh discipliner but his children did listen to him. Sighing in relief when his hands turned back to normal, well thank Merlin for that.
They groaned but nodded their heads reluctantly, moving into the kitchen nosing to see what was for dinner. The three of them shoving each other to get to it first only to be reprimanded by Remus who gave them a serious look getting them to settle down they knew better than to mess around in the kitchen.
"Uncle Sirius! Uncle Remus!" cried several children barrelling into the house, big excited grins on their faces as they raced down the hall.
"Calm down now!" Roxy admonished rolling her eyes, while her husband Dennis just grinned from where he stood his arms wrapped around her. They had two children, two boys one with sandy coloured hair like his father and one with red hair and the Potter hair nest curse. They were a few years younger than Sirius and Remus' kids but they all got on and thought of each other as cousins.
"You don't usually get here first," Sirius laughed as he hugged her, patting Dennis on the back harder than needed as always.
"For once we were running on time," Roxy grinned, "So what are you making for dinner? I'm absolutely famished."
"Silverside beef, potatoes, carrots, peas the whole deal," Sirius said, as he absently grabbed the plates and began to put them around the table so there was more than enough for everyone.
"Sounds divine," Roxy said, "I saw Harry and the kids today."
"Oh?" Sirius said giving her a curious look, it was nothing new for them to see Harry even though they normally just let the cousins talk and made awkward small talk themselves they certainly didn't act like brother and sister. "How are they doing?" he asked despite the fact he had just seen them all on Friday night.
"Yes," Roxy nodded, "They're doing good, and they were shopping for grade three potion kits."
Sirius laughed, "Hunter, he's got both Harry and Severus' talents when it comes to potions. If they don't watch the kids going to be so bored when it comes to potions class at Hogwarts." for twins Hunter and Hector couldn't be more different when it came to certain things, Potions was one of them, Hector had no patience for the subtle art of potion brewing, yet he liked charms and transfiguration and loved reading with his granny.
"Its grade three, he's already going to be bored," Dennis pointed out wryly; grade three was actually third year curriculum at Hogwarts.
"Wait, Harry's sending the twins to Hogwarts?" she was genuinely surprised, "I thought he wanted to send them somewhere else…Durmstrang I thought."
"Neither Severus nor Harry had a good time at Hogwarts, it's little wonder they contemplated the idea," Sirius sighed feeling wretched just thinking about it. "But I'll bet most of the others are sending their kids to Hogwarts, except the Krum's, now they'll be going to Durmstrang. With Fleur having a boy, Beauxbaton is out of the question, Hogwarts is a logical choice for her now." Sirius explained as he set the cutlery up.
"Wait why would Viktor and Lukas Krum send their kids to Durmstrang when all their friends will be at Hogwarts?" Roxy asked it made no sense.
"Tradition," Remus pointed out, "Just like Hogwarts is for us,"
"Charles, stop that!" Roxy called out, "Jamie, stop hitting Reg,"
"Sorry!" they called out apologetically.
"Why don't you go up to your rooms? I'll call you when Dinner is ready, go on," Remus urged them out of the kitchen before they ended up burnt.
The five of them scampered out of the room all that could be heard was feet running on the stairs and laughing.
"Roxy has her first case," Dennis said proudly, saying something since it appeared Roxy didn't want to say anything. Not that she could since she really shouldn't talk about things like that.
"Really? Well I hope things work out, it's going to be a very demanding department from what I've seen," Sirius pointed out.
"I know, they're planning on having a few others once it gets going," Roxy said, "And it is demanding but I've really liked the challenge."
"I'm su-" Sirius stopped when the door opened, "Hey; they're up the stairs go join them,"
"Hi Uncle Sirius, Uncle Remus!" they called out, before both red heads stomping up the stairs to join the others.
Susan shook her head in exasperation, wondering what she was thinking having another one, she did hope for a little girl though, so she could name it after her mother and aunt who had raised her as her own. They had named the children Edgar Nick Potter and Andrew Harry Potter.
"You should sit down," Sirius said, moving out a chair for her, he knew how it felt having given birth to three of his own - a novel concept, a man knowing how it felt for women but it was true. There had been a huge baby bloom that allowed Hogwarts to restart several subjects at Hogwarts now that they had the funds with so many people now entering her halls. Admittedly it wasn't until next year you'd see the full extent of just how much the magical world was flourishing.
"Is Narcissa, Andromeda and the baby coming?" Nick asked as he joined his wife.
Narcissa had been the first female to give birth using the potion; she'd given birth to a girl, the girl she had so desperately wanted. She had named her Andromeda, after her favourite sister. Just a week ago she'd given birth again, this time to a boy, and using Severus' advice she had a child with Aston Dolohov, to say he was probably over the moon to hear Narcissa had a boy would be putting it lightly. They didn't know the baby's name yet.
"Yes," Sirius nodded his confirmation as Remus continued to make sure the food didn't burn.
"Good, we bought a present with us, I didn't want to send it through an owl," Susan said, rubbing his stomach.
"She said yes!" James called out causing them all to jump they hadn't even heard him coming in. "We have more news too…"
Sirius grinned it had been a long time coming, Marian truly was the breath of fresh air James needed.
"We're having a baby," James said seriously.
"Wait….we're going to have a sibling that's younger than our own kids? They're going to have an aunt or uncle that's younger than them…that's madness!" Nick chortled, "I'm happy for you dad," he said hugging him, Sirius quickly joined in.
"Another reason to celebrate!" Remus said before patting James on the back, giving his shoulder a squeeze.
The girls all crowded around Marian offering their own separate congratulations.
Harry made his way down to the potions lab an amused smile playing across his face, his husband still hated big gatherings, and he'd always find him brooding away down here tinkering with his potions. Opening the door silently, he stood there just watching him, they'd had their share of fights over the years (mostly when he was pregnant) but their relationship grew stronger each year. Moving closer, he wrapped his arms around him, he made a point to not make too many big dinners in a year but this was something they definitely needed to celebrate, it was going to be the last time they'd all get together to eat for nearly a year. Some things just didn't change and Harry loved that about his husband. "Dinner is ready, you need to at least eat, oh and you have the perfect excuse for later, Hunter is dying to brew the potion kit I got him earlier."
Severus turned and smirked at Harry, "I think he might even beat our scores if he keeps up the way he is," they'd never pushed the kids into any subjects, letting them learn their own likes and dislikes instead of trying to push anything on them.
"Perhaps," Harry said, they'd made it clear to Hunter that he didn't have anything to prove but he absolutely loved Potions, and he was good at it. "At least the teacher is competent, otherwise I wouldn't have considered letting them go." although revenge had been very sweet, Colin Reese had written to him requesting a batch of the male pregnancy potion. He had denied his request, stating that it was just unwise for him to brew a potion after his despicable potion grades putting as much contempt into it while seeming polite. Professor Slughorn had retired the same year as Dumbledore, having no reason to stay due to the fact he had merely remained out of a favour from an old friend, and when that old friend left Horace had too. Dumbledore was enjoying retirement in Devon, he had repaired his relationship with Severus but it hadn't quite been the same.
"Draco is more than competent," Severus replied dryly, giving Harry an amused look, "I taught him myself, remember." long before Hogwarts as well, so even with Reese he had been well prepared in advance.
"Just a little bit more," Harry conceded, compared to them he was just competent but he didn't say anything further.
"You shouldn't be in here," Severus reminded him absently, his hand on his stomach. They were having another little girl, Andy had managed to create a spell that could scan around the magical sac the potion created and give a proper image of the child. So this baby's sex wasn't a surprise, not like Cassia.
"I'll be fine, there's no potion simmering," Harry said, Merlin he always forgot how much he missed brewing potions until he ended up pregnant and then was forbidden from coming down here. Just because he was pregnant though didn't mean he was absent from the Potion community, he and Severus had created over ten potions over the last ten years, some were very low key.
One - one that got rid of colic (temporarily of course)
Two - A gel that eased the pain of teething without giving them pain relief potions, it was much safer.
Three - One that helped ease a child to sleep with nothing but herbal ingredients that wouldn't harm a baby.
Four - Harry made one that completely suppressed a vampires' blood thirst, they needed to eat of course, they just never felt the urge that kept them from being in complete control one that was still being acclaimed even after four or five years since it was created.
Five - Severus created one that allowed you to communicate with animals for a limited period, and snakes were included in that, although it wasn't something that was needed for anyone other than Severus in the Prince-Peverell family due to the fact they'd all received Harry's Parseltongue abilities. In fact the gift Severus had given Harry all those years ago…it was mostly the twins who played with it, but Hermes remained Harry's, he used him when he needed anything delivered. The twins were saddened they couldn't take the snake with them though; it was an asp so it was dangerous. Cassia had grinned behind her hand the entire time Hunter and Hector pleaded with their dads to let them take it with them. She as well as the twins knew their parents never changed their minds when it was made up, and so she knew the Asp was hers now…at least until she went to Hogwarts.
Six - One that thickened the hair for balding men, so it seemed as though there was more.
Seven - A patronus potion, Harry created it for Narcissa who visited Lucius in prison a few times, she'd been pregnant at the time and Harry had wanted her safe.
Eight - A potion that siphoned off dark residual magic, allowing those who had been cursed enabling them to have their limbs reattached or scars removed caused by Dark magic something Harry and Severus had created together.
Nine - Another example of Severus and Harry's joint ingenuity, they'd made a potion that allowed people to see magic for up to ten hours, it was extremely popular amongst the curse breakers.
Ten - The best of all inventions, a potion that allows a child born as a squib to have its magical core attached when it was practically impossible otherwise. They were far from powerful, but they could use spells, use a wand, which made them wizards and witches.
"Come, lets get this over with," Severus sighed, putting a charm over his workbench to preserve the freshly cut ingredients until he returned to brew it.
Harry laughed, "You're acting like you're going to the guillotine," allowing his husband to guide him from the room, before long they were in the dining room surrounded by friends and more importantly family who were all chattering away. Fleur was currently feeding her fussy two year old boy, while her husband Gary entertained their six year old daughter. Viktor and Lukas were laughing over something their five year old son was telling them - presumably a joke of some kind. Cedric and Cho (who had married last) were babbling to their one year old daughter while their eight year old son conversed with Hector and Hunter. Neville and Luna were answering a question from their eleven year old son, who was also going to Hogwarts with Hector and Hunter, the only one this year actually who would be joining Harry and Severus' eldest.
"Uncle Nev, I'm hungry when's dinner going to be ready?" Cassia asked, her long black hair swaying as she moved around restlessly, she had Severus' hair and Harry's green eyes, and she had both her parents wrapped firmly around her little fingers.
"I'm sure it will be ready soon," Neville answered, "Did you like the book I got you for your birthday?" engaging the eight years old in a conversation seeing she was bored.
"I loved it!" Cassia proudly exclaimed, "My name is in it!"
"Yes, yes it is," Neville grinned; it was one of the more normal names that came with being an herb or a spice so she should be entirely grateful. He was pretty sure Severus had been the one to name her.
A wide smile appeared on Harry's face, he loved this, them all being together, he had gone from being entirely invisible during his childhood with a family that barely looked at him to having a large extended family that meant the world to him. Turning to face Severus properly, he said, "I love you," and he did with all his heart.
"I know," Severus replied, that was one thing he never doubted, not only did he have proof that Harry loved him above all else, he saw it in his eyes every single day. Especially in moments like this, it was why it was worth going through these blasted dinners, Harry knew Severus did it for him…and later at night well lets just say it became even more worth it. That was as long as nobody interrupted them, he thought sardonically, he could remember every time one of the kids had barged into the room and interrupted them. Pressing his hand against Harry's stomach, the wedding ring glimmering in the light, his little girl was in there, they'd already decided on a name, Serenity Sage Prince-Peverell and he couldn't wait to hold her. "I love you too," he added despite the company.
"You're just looking forward to tonight," Harry teased giving him a nudge.
Severus just gave a low chuckle, shaking his head in amusement at the banter before he guided Harry over to their family. It was time to celebrate before Hunter, Hector and Neville and Luna's son Liam Lorcan Longbottom were off to Hogwarts.
"Come out of your bat cave son?" Eileen teased, her white hair tied back in a bun.
"Dad was brewing potions granny, not in a bat cave," Cassia insisted, as the adults around her laughed at her statement.
"Of course he was," Eileen said in mock seriousness, her black eyes gleaming with love.
"Dad can we brew that potion later?" Hunter asked, more like begged.
"Told you," Harry laughed his hand in his husbands.
"Not funny, Da," Hunter pouted, he just wanted to brew with his dads one last time before he had to be taught with a teacher.
"We may," Severus replied, as always correcting their grammar, but that just flew over Hunter's mind and he just cheered excitedly.
Yes, life despite its tremulous start, had been very good to him in later life, he wouldn't trade it in for anything. He wasn't invisible anymore…he was loved.
There we go it's officially completed! Now what did you think? Is there something missing that you would like to see? something that annoys you about the chapter? Please please let me know so it can be changed if it requires it - its much better than it lying a disappointment! so let this story end with a bang and give a review and let me know what you thought of it! one last single review! I hope you've enjoyed the ride it's been by far one the most challenging stories i've written and its definitely up there as my number one favourite to write and apparently read for those who've read it! I honestly hope you've enjoyed the last chapter and if not give me a little shout! R&R it's a goodbye from this story!