Chapter 4

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Journal entry of Colin James
'Its been three months since the final battle, and I still have nightmares. I imagine I'll have them the rest of my life. I also dreamt of Severus last night. We were walking along the beach here and there were children giggling and laughing around us.

A useless dream. Won't ever happen now that he's gone. I know it doesn't do me any good to dwell on it... but, the pain won't let me forget it for long. I miss him...them... I can't help it. I still wonder if I could have done something different that would have saved them all.....

Hogwarts

Severus was standing between Lucius and Sirius Black at the Memorial next to the Black Lake. The castle had created a park, with small hills, paths, and small groupings of trees.

It was a playground built for children. Albus thought that it was a fitting memorial to the man who gave up his own childhood for the Wizarding World.

There were swings and a slide, climbing frames and a maze, and a large sandpit with shovels and buckets ready, begging children to come and play. Benches and picnic tables, and a magical roundabout with Dragons, Pegasi, Hippogriffs and Unicorns ready to be ridden around and around. A perfect place for students' families to spend time visiting.

Neville had planted flowers in vibrant colors around a memorial statue of children playing. There was no sign of a statue of Harry anywhere to be found. No naming of the park for him. He hadn't wanted that. Only the knowledge that the future generations would have a peaceful place to play and be children. That this would be a safe place filled with laughter, joy, and happiness.

Severus promised himself that he would bring their children here to play. But, oh how he wished, they could all be here, as a family. Clenching his jaw, he pushed down the grief, refusing to be seen weeping in front of so many, especially strangers.

Black stood next to him, proud but slightly gaunt from his time of incarceration. The man ranted for all of ten minutes when he learned that Severus and Harry were bonded. Then, he fainted when he learned that Severus was with child--or children, as was the case.

What no one, least of all Severus himself, ever expected a civil word from the ex-Marauder, they were all surprised. Sirius Black seemed to finally let go of the animosity he'd held for so many years, so he could be a part of Harry's children's lives. And if that meant making peace with one Severus Snape, er--Black-Potter, then so be it.

It was the things he'd learned in that dungeon. That life was short. Choices were made everyday, and he planned to live it now. Not like he wanted to, but the next best thing; with the children Harry never knew about. He would make his godson proud of him.

Sensing the sudden tension in Severus, next to him, he placed a gentle hand on the man's back, rubbing just barely, in a show of support and comfort.

Hermione stepped forward with a box in her hands. Opening it, she released a pair of doves. As they flew into the sky, Severus felt his heart fly away with them. He wondered, 'Do doves cry?'

~!~

Two weeks later, Severus walked into his shared common room to find Sirius reading. As he got closer, he read the title. Baby names.

Sirius' head popped up. "Has Poppy said what sex the babies are yet?"

Severus raised an eyebrow and gave the other man a slightly annoyed glare. "The genders of my children are boy and girl."

Smiling, "What type of names do you want to avoid?"

"Black... Sirius, I know you want to be involved...."

"Of course I want to be involved," Sirius set the book face down on the table, and turned to face Severus, who stood near the fireplace. "Why wouldn't I be? They are Harry's--my godson's--children too."

Severus sat down carefully in the black leather arm chair by the fire and rubbed a hand over his face.

Sirius swallowed hard, "I'm sorry. I'm being insensitive." His shoulders slumped, "I missed so much of Harry's life because I had to run after Peter in revenge, then prison, hiding, falling through the Veil and yanked back, then being taken captive, that I just don't want to miss this as well. They are a part of him that is still with us. I want to cherish that--if you'll allow me..."

Severus felt his chest constrict. Gods, he missed Harry. He wished he was here to hold him. Argue with him. Yell at him. Just to hear his voice and feel his hands hold him.

"Harry would be happy that we are getting along," Sirius whispered. "He probably already knows that I bought a pair of Beginner brooms for them for when they are old enough."

"I'll be white headed when they start walking, let alone begin flying."

"Nonsense, Severus! We're wizards. We live a very long time. You won't be white-haired until, they've at least married and given you grandchildren." Sirius grinned impishly.

"Grandchildren that Harry won't get a chance to enjoy. He won't be here to share with me, walking the floor with them."

"I know. But you will, and I will. And we can tell them all about their Da--how great a man he was. And no, I'm not talking about the Savior of the Wizarding World. He was great in his own right."

Sirius stood and moved to where Severus sat, and knelt in front of him.

"They'll have all the things he didn't get to have and that's love growing up. It's the reason he fought so hard for you and him. Free to love who he chose and to have a family." Sirius had tears running down his face freely,now.

Severus looked up from where he'd been cradling his face in his hands, and was shocked to see the open emotion on Sirius' face. The man had never been this unguarded around him. He rapidly blinked, fighting back the tears that had been threatening his own eyes.

Sirius barked out a laugh or sob, as he swiped at his eyes, "Look at us. Emotional wrecks!"

Severus schooled his features, fighting the smirk that threatened. "You may be an emotional wreck, Black. As for me, it's only the hormones."

Sirius snorted and shook his head as he stood then resumed his seat. "Have you thought of Godparents yet?"

"Not as yet. There have been--other things--on my mind."

"Have you considered Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood?"

Severus eyed Sirius, as he ran a finger slowly back and forth over his lips. Sirius stood and plopped into the chair opposite Severus, and pulled at a loose thread on the knee of his denims.

"They would be--acceptable. They are quite young still, and seem to be quite responsible. And they do reside here at the castle. Are you certain they would be willing to accept the responsibilities?"

"Oh! Quite certain!" Lucius entered the room. "I just left the library, where Mr. Longbottom is currently ensconced with Miss Lovegood, and a mountain of reading material. It seems he is researching male pregnancies and child care!" He sat on the couch and laid his cane on the cushion next to him. "Hello, cousin. Staying out of mischief?"

"Never. And how is Cissa?"

"Sadly, still drooling on her robes, and will be, permanently. But at least she is no longer syphoning my Galleons. Gringott's has recovered my funds and the Ministry has severed our bonding contract for breach--on her part. Foolish witch should never have taken up with the Dark Lord. I'm a free man, finally."

"Well, Bella may have been the mad one, but Cissa always was the greedy one. You were lucky to escape her alive and intact." Sirius eyed Lucius. "I never turned my back on her either."

Lucius leaned forward to lay a hand on Severus' belly, cocking an eyebrow at him, daring him to say anything. "And how are my little niece and nephew doing?"

Severus shifted a bit trying to get more comfortable. "Active, and hungry. Always hungry."

"Dobby!" Sirius called.

The elf immediately appeared next to Severus' chair, a plate in one hand and a glass in the other. "It's being time for Master Harry's babies' afternoon snack. Dobby is bringing a glass of milk, and Corned Beef Sandwich. Miss Poppy says Master Severus must have fruit too. Dobby added Simmered Apples."

Severus took the plate, removed the top slice of rye bread from the sandwich and dumped the stewed apples on top of the sauerkraut and corned beef, and replaced the bread. Pushing down on the sandwich, he cast a cutting hex to slice it in half, before taking a bite. Lucius and Sirius watched in horror. Lucius even looked a little green.

His eyebrows went up and he frowned. "No horseradish?"

Dobby shook his head hard enough to make his ears flop. "Miss Poppy says no spicy foods for the babies. Will upset their little tummies."

Severus swallowed. "Well, this wizard's tummy wants horseradish."

Dobby folded his arms and stared stubbornly back at the Potions Master.

Sirius stifled a snicker. "I do believe you've met your match, Severus. Dobby obeys Poppy's orders implicitly when it comes to those babies. Give up while you're ahead."

"Listen to him, Sev. Dobby is a force to be reckoned with. I should know." Lucius added, giving the elf a half-smile.

Sighing, Severus' shoulders slumped in a small show of defeat. "Very well. Am I at least allowed some crisps?"

Dobby beamed and nodded, as a small pile of crisps appeared on Severus' plate.

"Thank you, Dobby. You may go."

With a snap, the elf was gone, and Severus went back to eating, as Lucius and Sirius tried not to watch. Sirius turned to face Lucius.

"Now, you were saying--about Neville and Luna becoming godparents to the twins?"

"I've known both families for years. Good Pureblood lines there. Both stable, despite the oddities of the Lovegoods. Harmless personality quirks. Hides the inherent brilliance in the family and gives them an advantage in the newspaper business. And Madam Longbottom--a sharp mind there, though she was a bit slow on cultivating the same in young Neville. He did come into his own finally though."

"And quite a brilliant Herbologist, he is turning out to be--though if you tell him I told you that..." Severus wiped his mouth with his napkin.

"I know. I know. You will deny it vehemently." Sirius replied with a snort.

"I do believe we should send them an invitation to join us for tea, and get a 'feel' as they say, of their feelings concerning this. Then if they seem amenable, we will offer the opportunity."

"Splendid idea, Luc." With a flick of his wand, Severus sent his dishes back to the kitchens. "Ah, much better."

"And once your food has settled, you need to go have a kip."

Severus eyed Sirius. "My mother, you are not, Black."

"No. No offence to her memory, but I'm much better looking. And you are still going to nap. Poppy's orders. I'll even rub your back if you'd like."

Lucius laughed aloud, causing both men to look at him.

"The two of you sound like an old bonded couple. Harry would be amused--and pleased you are getting on so well."

Severus stood with a little difficultly, his expression suddenly sad. Walking to his bedroom, he entered, closing the door behind him with a click.

Sirius turned to the blond. "Well, you certainly stuck your foot in that one, cousin."

"Oh, dear."

"Why don't you go speak to Neville and Luna. I will see what I can do to calm him."

Lucius nodded as he grabbed his cane and rose, heading for the door, as Sirius headed for Severus' room.

Tbc...