See chapter 1 for notes, disclaimer, and everything…
IMPORTANT NOTE: I'm still writing this story; I need to format scenes to post them here. Stay tuned.
SELFISH NOTE: Right now, I'm typing a Ducky/Abby bunny (NCIS) that you can meet on my yahoogroup (rating too high to be posted here). I also have flocks, armies, hordes of bunnies for various fandoms on my website (rating way too high to be posted here). Follow the links on my profile… ^_~
It wasn't even a real note; it was a drawing that a little girl had made for him.
When she was a baby, she'd been bitten by a relative infected with lycanthropy; her health had been steadily deteriorating, and without Snape's discovery, she would probably have died in just a few more months.
She'd made him a colourful and happy drawing with flowers, butterflies and little pink hearts; her "thank-you" was sent with a letter written by her mother that explained that, even though her daughter was still in critical condition, there was some hope that she might live now.
Abby saw how moved her husband was.
'Why don't you go see her with Poppy?' Abby suggested.
'I might have to spend time in my lab, and I don't want to leave you now,' he answered lamely.
'Don't be silly, I can ask Greenli to bring a chair in your lab, and Bunny would get to see you work. Go see that little girl; maybe you can help her, and you won't forgive yourself if you don't try,' Abby said.
Snape took a deep breath to protest, but Abby placed the tip of her fingers on his lips and added, 'It's just one little girl you want to help, not the entire planet.'
Snape nodded and went to invite Pomfrey to come and help him diagnose the little Belgian witch.
The Mediwitch and the Potions master managed to save the little witch, and they discovered, thanks to her, that all those who'd been infected with lycanthropy needed a potion to counteract the negative effects of the infection.
When people began to thank Pomfrey and Snape for their additional discovery, they both made an official statement that gave credit to the little girl's role in their finding. The whole thing started a form of solidarity between the families that had been plagued by lycanthropy; it would start bringing together the Wizarding communities all around the globe, one step at a time.
In the Snape family, Abby knew that the little alien witch had brought out a new dimension in Severus as a father.
Snape had been turned into a dad the moment Harry adopted him – and the moment Abby encouraged him to give Harry time to adapt to his new situation after his rescue, but Abby's pregnancy was bringing something new into the equation. Being involved in the creation of his daughter was a new kind of adventure for Snape, and he loved it.
As weeks went by, the entire family started to prepare the nest for Ceres. First, the castle created a nursery, and then the family decorated it a bit each weekend.
One of the talismans from Japan was above Ceres's cradle – the other one was above Harry's bed in his room.
Everything was taking shape.
Abby was getting rounder. By the end of May, she looked as if she'd swallowed a big pumpkin. Rae and DiNozzo, who was as good a wizard now as if he'd trained normally, helped Abby magically adjust her wardrobe. Snape was a very devoted husband, but when it came to clothes, he wasn't exactly gifted.
Harry was asking Greenli to teach him many, many things because he wanted to be able to help with his baby sister. When he wasn't with his parents, Harry could be found either in the Hogwarts library or at NCIS headquarters in Vance's office, using one of McGee's old laptops that Rae and McGee had programmed to allow Harry to visit only sites that were suitable for such a young child. Harry couldn't use a quill yet, but he was learning to type quite nicely.
The exams for the fifth- and seventh-year students at Hogwarts were done, and the staff was to teach the other students for a few more days before the end of the school year.
Snape and Gibbs were looking forward to the summer. They'd be able to really take care of their wives.
Abby was due a good month before Pince, but both would slow down during the summer. Pince would only have to catalogue her new books and renew the spells on a few rare volumes in the Restricted section.
Abby had agreed to share her lab with someone who'd replace her during her short maternity leave. She was training a forensics expert who was also… an Auror.
It was a good thing that Abby shared her lab with a witch, because she literally felt that there was something odd going on one day. It seemed that Ceres was ready to be born, three weeks before the estimated delivery date.
Jane, Abby's replacement, cast a spell that warned Rae and DiNozzo that Abby was having her baby. Gibbs ran so fast to the lab that it almost looked as if he'd Apparated; he was the one who ran to Hogwarts to tell his brother, while Abby was being escorted to the hospital wing.
Gibbs rushed into the Potions classroom where Snape was teaching first-years.
'Sev!' Gibbs shouted.
'What's wrong?' Snape inquired.
'Abby's having the baby,' Gibbs answered.
Snape rushed to his brother and asked, 'Hospital?'
Snape ran out, abandoning his students… and their cauldrons.
Gibbs decided to help with the students before going to the hospital.
'From what houses are you?' Gibbs asked the students.
'Hufflepuff,' answered one half of the class.
The others said, 'Ravenclaw.'
'I want you to run to your heads of houses and tell them to come here as fast as possible,' Gibbs said.
Two students obeyed instantly, but there was one who was wondering why a Muggle was giving them orders in Potions class, no less.
'Oi! We can trust him,' one of his classmate objected. 'That's Mr Pince!'
Gibbs swallowed his saliva down the wrong pipe when he heard that.
Sympo had heard the news, thanks to the house-elves, and she'd met the two first-year students as she went to the Slytherin common room to share the good news with the other Slytherins. She was the first to arrive in the Potions classroom.
'What are you doing still here, sir?' she asked Gibbs.
'I can't leave these kids with boiling cauldrons,' he answered.
'What were you working on?' Sympo asked the class.
'A Vitamin potion,' a Hufflepuff answered.
'And can it be frozen safely before it's completed?' Sympo asked the class.
'Yes, but only if the fire is put out first,' a Ravenclaw said.
'Very good. I'll tell Professor Snape that you answered correctly. Now extinguish the fires, and freeze the contents of your cauldrons,' Sympo ordered.
The students obeyed, and the seventh-year Slytherin helped those who had difficulties to cast the spell on their potions.
'You can go to the hospital; I'll stay here with the class,' Sympo told Gibbs.
'Are you sure?' he said.
'Yes, they're nice and obedient. You're about to become an uncle, sir,' she said.
'In a few hours,' he pointed out.
'Erm, sir… Mrs Snape might be a Muggle, but she's expecting a witch, and she's got a Mediwitch to cast Delivery spells on her, and she's married to a Potions master,' the young Slytherin explained.
Gibbs started running towards the hospital.
He wasn't the only one rushing upstairs. There were students, teachers, ghosts and house-elves.
Pince could be quite loud, and when she spotted her husband a flight of stairs above her, she yelled for him to wait for her. Their Jack was making a nice bump on his mother, and Pince was quite slow. Gibbs rushed back to his wife, and he was slightly tempted to carry her to go faster.
'Don't be in such a hurry, Leroy,' Pince said quietly.
'But Sympo said it could be very fast!' he countered her.
'A Witching delivery is faster than the average Muggle one, but magic has its limits, my dear. Ceres will be born in about one hour, because she's Abby's first baby. The next baby, indeed, could come much faster,' Pince explained.
'Tonight, you'll tell me more, much more about what to expect when you deliver Jack,' he declared.
She nodded and gave him a warm smile that made him melt.
Gibbs was leaning towards his wife to give her a kiss when a human Snitch warped past them. Harry had been in Hogsmeade with Greenli, who was shopping for the family, when the news reached them. Greenli Apparated them back to the gates, and from there, Harry turned into a human missile; he wanted to be there to welcome Ceres.
'Isn't he cute?' Pince asked rhetorically.
'As a button. And fast as a bullet! Let's hurry, Irma,' Gibbs said.
Pince was still chuckling when they reached the floor of the hospital.
As soon as they arrived, they felt the tension, and Gibbs's instincts reacted strongly.
'Irma,' he whispered. 'The baby is a bit early. Do you think there could be a problem?'
'Well, pregnancy isn't nine months exactly on the dot, but there's always a risk, you know,' she said. 'However, Poppy is more than good. When she learnt Mediwizardry, she passed a midwifery degree, too. She came to Hogwarts to be with a young teacher decades ago.'
'Which teacher?' Gibbs inquired.
'A Defence one. He didn't survive long, but Poppy stayed,' Pince explained.
Gibbs knew that the survival remark was certainly literal.
He and Pince walked past students and reached other members of the staff.
Dumbledore stopped Gibbs and said, 'Severus asked Donald to come and help.'
'Why?' Gibbs asked.
'He didn't say, and since he's an Occlumens,' Dumbledore whispered into Gibbs's ear, 'I don't know what he was thinking.'
'Do you think something might be wrong with Abbs?' Gibbs asked.
Dumbledore looked worried when he said, 'Severus was pale, and he looked spooked.'
Severus and spooked weren't words that Gibbs would ever have imagined in the same sentence. That was truly scary.
Harry, who was in Rae's arms, could feel the tension. With a small voice he asked, 'What's happening to Mummy and Ceres?'
'Do you remember how Tony complained that I took too long to be ready to go when there was the Marine Ball last month?' Ziva asked Harry.
Harry nodded fervently.
'It's just the same. Ceres is making everybody wait,' Ziva lied without blinking.
'Oh, okay,' Harry said, reassured.
The students were sent back downstairs, and most of the teachers left to keep the students busy in the Great Hall.
Jackson Gibbs arrived a few minutes later. One of the house-elves had travelled to Stillwater to Apparate him inside Abby's flat, and from there, he'd rushed into Hogwarts and upstairs to the hospital.
McGee and Rae were devising a plan to distract Harry in order to allow Gibbs to tell his father what was going on with Abby when Ducky came out.
'Greenli, you may take Harry inside,' he said.
Harry ran inside so fast that Greenli was practically flying behind him like a kite.
Ducky closed the doors behind them and gathered the family around him. His huge grin told them that everything was all right – at least it was now.
'What happened?' Ziva asked.
'There's been a bit more magic than expected in Abigail's pregnancy,' Ducky said.
'Could you be a bit less cryptic?' Pince growled with impatience.
'It turned out that Ceres was impatient to be born today because she was feeling a bit cramped next to her twin. Poppy doesn't know how the girl escaped her spells, but she had to adjust the doses of potions for Abigail during delivery. Severus and I helped. Mother and daughters are all right. Severus is a bit stunned though,' Ducky explained with a merry chuckle.
'Twins?!' Jackson shouted.
Tension dropped, and a fear tears fell.
'Is there something wrong with the other baby?' Pince inquired.
'What do you mean?' Jackson asked his daughter-in-law.
'Pregnancy spells can detect anything, Papa,' she answered. 'It's not normal that she wasn't detected.'
They all turned to Ducky, who said, 'She's a healthy baby… as healthy as Ceres.'
'They're going to need duplicates of everything!' McGee exclaimed.
'Magic, Probie!' DiNozzo reminded his friend.
'I bet Hogwarts and the house-elves have already done everything for baby number two,' Ziva declared.
'Does she have a name?' Dumbledore asked his husband.
Ducky nodded and said, 'Abby decided to give her the second name they'd chosen for Ceres.'
'Sweet Lord!' Jackson growled.
'You really don't like it, do you?' Gibbs said.
Jackson growled and said, 'Her school days will be horrible with such a name!'
'Dad, she'll go to school here. All the kids will know her by the time she's sorted into her house, and she's the daughter of the Head of Slytherin!' Gibbs pointed out.
'Yea, you're right… and I can call her Angie,' Jackson said.
'What name did they choose?' Ziva asked.
'Angitia,' Ducky answered.
Greenli came to invite the family to meet the twins.
The girls looked identical. However, it wouldn't take their family long to realize how different they were – at least that was what they would believe for over a decade.
Severus and Abby Snape were amazed to find themselves with twin daughters, but they were ecstatic that their babies were healthy.
Everybody offered to help, and things went smoothly.
Harry was on a cloud, and he became a model elder brother for the girls.
In fact, the birth of the girls was the oddest event for a few years. However, the links between Hogwarts and NCIS, and between Muggle and Wizarding communities, became more intricate and grew deeper very fast – first with weddings, and then with births.
(Next scene as soon as possible)