Happily Ever After

After the wedding reception, which was great, though I ate too much cake and gave myself a stomachache and Dad had to give me a potion for it, things went back to normal around our house, except we now had two new family members.

Dad had enlarged the house with a space warp spell so Lexy could have her own room, it was right next to mine, and he added two new rooms as well. One was an office, for Alaina, where she could keep her files and lesson plans and her computer. The other was currently labeled a guest room, but it didn't even have any furniture in it.

Dad and Alaina, who I now call Mum, got tons of wedding gifts, both magical an non-magical, but the best one was above the fireplace. On the mantle was a vase with a magically preserved red rose and a white lily, wedding gifts from the spirits of my mum and grandmother.

It was strange at first, having Lexy living with me now, instead of just coming over every couple of days. Alaina had sold their old house after she moved in with Dad, and they used some of the money to go on a honeymoon to Italy for two weeks.

Lexy, Inky, and I stayed with Grandpa during that time, he came over to our house and watched us there, since Inky was too noticeable in any Muggle neighborhood. We had a great time with Grandpa while my parents were gone, we went to the movies and played Monopoly and checkers and he finally taught me how to carve a block of wood. Now that I was eight, I was old enough to be trusted with a carving knife, though only supervised by him, never alone.

I tried to carve a dog, but it didn't come out too well, though Grandpa said it was pretty good for my first time.

He even let Lexy carve something, she carved a heart, and it looked better than my dog, I have to admit.

But we had fun doing it, and that was what mattered, according to Grandpa.

One of the best things about Grandpa watching us was that we got to eat pretty much whatever we wanted, including junk food. Sometimes we had pizza, other times chicken nuggets from McDonalds, and sometimes we had hamburgers and hot dogs. And we always had dessert.

But the bad thing about Grandpa watching us was he made us go to bed at eight-thirty every night. And he came to check on us to make sure we were sleeping by nine and if we were still awake we got a lecture and no dessert tomorrow night. He also stayed in the room to make sure we fell asleep, so we had no choice but to fall asleep eventually.

Dad had told us that if we gave Grandpa any problems we'd be in big trouble when he got home, as in grounded and no friends over for a week. But we weren't that stupid, I had told Lexy already that Grandpa wouldn't take any nonsense from us, and so we behaved. Mostly.

I ended up in the corner for twenty minutes because I was arguing with Lexy over whose turn it was to feed Inky and I pushed her. I shouldn't of done that, but she was being so annoying! After that, Grandpa made me apologize and told me next time I was caught fighting with my sister, I could go and spend the afternoon in my room and do all her chores plus mine.

I made sure to behave after that. I never knew having a sister could be annoying as well as fun. And sometimes it was more annoying than fun, especially when Lexy and Hermione got together and all they wanted to play were dumb games like dolls and cooking class. Girls! Sometimes Ron was right and they really did come from another world.

Mum and Dad returned home at last, with plenty of pictures and stories to tell us and presents too, of course! Lexy got a beautiful Italian doll that could speak phrases in both Italian and English and a turquoise Murano glass necklace with a healing and protection charm on it, much like my panther charm.

Dad got me two animated marionette puppets that could duel with each other. One was a wizard and the other a knight. And he got me a special cloak, with deep pockets to hold many things and when you pulled the hood up, you became invisible to your enemies for a time.

But it was made for an older child, there was only one size, and Dad said I'd just have to grow into it, and he put it away for safekeeping. He'd actually bought it for when I went to Hogwarts, and because I wasn't allowed to wear it now, he gave me a magic flute that could play hundreds of songs as many times as I wanted. That was very cool, though not as cool as the cloak, but I was satisfied.

Around the end of April, my new mum started acting kind of weird. She began only having tea in the mornings for breakfast because food made her sick to her stomach. I told her to tell Dad and he'd give her a potion to make her well, but she said it would pass, that it was normal for a woman in her condition.

What condition? I wondered. I immediately thought of my mother, who had died of a disease called lupus, and hadn't been able to keep food down either at the end, Dad had to give her a special Nutrient Plus potion with a straw. I'd been little, but I remembered bringing her the special drink every morning.

What if Alaina had the same kind of sickness? I thought in horror. I didn't want my new mum to die like my other one. I decided not to wait for her to tell Dad, but ran and knocked on the door to his lab.

He was making batches of pain reliever for the hospital right then, and had eight caldrons brewing.

"Dad? It's me, Harry. I really need to talk to you."

"One minute."

I heard the snick of the lock opening, then I shoved open the door and ran into the room.

"What's the matter, son? You look like you just lost your best friend." Dad looked up from where he was stirring a cauldron, his brow furrowed in concern.

"It's Alaina, Dad," I blurted, calling her by her name for the first time in weeks. "I...I think she's got the same thing Mum had and she's...she's dying," I gasped out, feeling my chest and throat seize up. "I don't want her to die!" I wailed, and then I burst out crying.

Dad just stared at me. "Harry, for the love of Merlin!" He came around the cauldron and took me in his arms. I buried my face in his robes and bawled like I was two again. "Harry, Harry, hush . . .hush now. Calm down. Where on earth did you get the idea that Alaina has lupus and is dying? Come on, stop crying and talk to me."

It was a moment or two before I could regain control over myself, sniffling and hiccupping. Dad patted my back and told me to take deep breaths until I could breathe normally, and then I answered his question. "B-Because she says she can't eat anything in the morning anymore and all she drinks is tea, like Mum did when she was sick, remember? Food makes her sick. Can't you fix her, Dad? I don't want her to go to heaven too!"

"Wait a minute. You said she told you she can't eat anything in the morning? That food makes her nauseous?"

"Yeah, and when I told her to take a potion, she said it was normal for women in her condition, Dad."

"Those were her exact words, Harry?"

"Yes. Why?" He didn't seem upset at all. I couldn't understand it.

"Merlin's starry hat, Harry! Alaina's not dying, you silly boy!"

"She's not?"

"No. She's going to . . .mmm...might as well tell everyone at once. Where's your sister?"

"Ummm...outside playing catch with Inky."

"Call them in here for me, won't you? Your mother and I will be in the den. I think it's time for our first family meeting."

I knew what that meant. We used to do family meetings back when Lily was alive. Once a week, we'd all go into the den and have a discussion about problems with school, or chores, or homework and try and resolve it. We even discussed upcoming events, like summer vacation and holidays.

I ran outside and yelled for Lexy to come in, we were having a family meeting.

"What's that?"

"You'll see. Hurry up!"

By the time we got in the den, Mum and Dad were sitting on the sofa, looking all goofy and tender at each other. If they were going to get all mushy and lovey-dovey, I was going to be sick. That kind of stuff really embarrasses me.

Dad gestured for us to be seated, and once we were sitting on the couch with Inky by our feet, Dad announced, "Children, we have some wonderful news for you," he was beaming like he'd just won a million Galleons. "Alaina?"

"Harry, I just want to let you know that I'm not sick and I'm certainly not dying! You misunderstood me, honey. When I said it was normal for women to get sick in the morning, it's because I'm having a baby, not because I've got a disease."

"Mom, you're pregnant!" Lexy cried.

"Yes." She patted her stomach and smiled.

"You mean you're gonna have a baby?" I repeated dully. Now I felt like the world's biggest idiot, going all to pieces like that.

"I am. And you two will be its big brother and sister," answered Mum.

"When will it be born, Mom?" Lexy wanted to know.

"Well, Sev? You ran a diagnostic on me. When's the baby due?"

"According to the results, he or she should be born around early December, the ninth or tenth, I believe. Just in time for Christmas." Dad looked pleased as a hippogriff with a dead ferret.

I scrutinized Mum's belly. It was still flat. "You don't look like you're pregnant."

"Give it time, Harry. I'll be showing soon enough." She laughed.

Lexy was scratching Inky behind one ear and crooning, "Iinky, we're going to have a new baby here soon. Then you'll have another little Snape to protect. How about that, huh?" Lexy had been adopted by Dad like I had, only she changed her name to his.

Inky purred happily, guess he didn't mind one more.

"What are you going to name the baby, Dad?" I asked.

"We haven't decided yet, Harry. I'm still getting used to the idea of being a father again. But we'll have some names picked out before the due date."

"And Dad's going to deliver it like he did me," I told my mum.

"I wouldn't have anyone else do it."

"I wouldn't let anyone else deliver you. Not even Matthew." Dad said firmly.

"Does that mean the guest room becomes a nursery?" I guessed.

"It does, scamp." Dad answered. "Sometime next week, we'll have to sit down and choose a theme for it and then decorate."

"Would you like to help us?" asked Mum.

"Yes!" Lexy and I said together, happy to be included.

The next day at school I told Hermione about my mum being pregnant.

"Wow, Harry! You're lucky, now you'll have a brother or sister to teach and to play with. That's so cool!" she said, a bit enviously. "Sometimes I wish I had a brother or a sister."

But when I told the Weasley twins and Ron, Ron just looked at me and said, "Merlin, Harry, you'd better pray you don't end up with a little sister like mine. She's a disaster! You can't keep secrets around her and she tells on you and she's such a pain in the behind sometimes."

Actually, I didn't think Ginny was that bad, but then again, I didn't have to live with her.

"Yeah, and just wait till your mum starts getting odd cravings for food at all hours of the night." George remarked.

His twin smirked. "Once, when our mum was pregnant with Ginny, she made Dad go out at 2AM to get her butter pecan ice cream with caramel sauce and raspberries on top."

"And when they get really round, like a ball, they get very cranky and snap at you for everything." Fred recalled.

"Do they ever!" his twin gulped. "Mum smacked me with a spoon for casting a color change spell on Ronnie, even though it didn't hurt him. I made him a rainbow kid and normally she'd of laughed, but not when she was carrying Ginny. She got annoyed at the slightest thing then."

I wasn't looking forward to the next few months if that was how Mum was going to behave, all cranky and snippy and ready to pounce on me. But as it turned out, Mum had quite a good pregnancy, as far as those things go.

Dad made her a special potion for her morning sickness, so she could stop getting sick and eat normally again. After she took it she was fine, almost like her old self.

Dad gave her regular exams to check on how the baby was growing and Mum was handling the stress of carrying around twenty-five extra pounds. Dad let Lexy and I listen to the baby's heartbeat once. It sounded funny, kind of like a loud drum and a washing machine.

The only cravings I could tell that Mum had were a longing for freshly baked bread with butter, sweet potatoes, and cake batter ice cream. One time she finished off an entire pint of cake batter ice cream in one go.

Then she cried, "Oh God, Sev, I'm becoming a house. I can't believe I ate an entire pint of ice cream! I've never done that before! What's WRONG with me?"

Dad just put his arm around her and said, "Alaina, it's not the end of the world. It's not the most healthy thing for you to eat but don't wallow in guilt because you just ate a pint of ice cream."

"Easy for you to say, Sev." She grumbled. "You're not the one whose hips are starting to look like a tire."

"You're exaggerating, love. You look fine to me. Healthy as a unicorn and you're going to stay that way." Then he kissed her and she smiled at him.

We all decorated the nursery, the walls were a pale yellow divided into top and bottom. On them we had chosen baby unicorns and kneasle cubs and hippogriffs, all sleeping or smiling down at you.

Grandpa was busy making furniture for his new grandchild. So far he'd made a cradle, a rocking chair, a dresser, and he was currently working on a crib. Each piece was meticulously sanded and lacquered, it was beautiful once it was finished. Lexy and I helped sand and coat whenever we were permitted, giving the pieces that extra glow.

Jane and Mum went shopping for baby clothes and stuff next, and it seemed like every time I turned around someone was giving Mum another gift for the baby.

By the time the kid got born, you could have stocked a whole store. When I pointed that out to Dad, he just chuckled and said, "That's all right, Harry. The more the merrier. You should have seen what you received when you were born."

The twins were right about one thing, Mum did get more crabby as she grew bigger and still tried to continue her normal routine. Sometimes now she had headaches or backaches, and Dad couldn't give her more potions because she was to near her due date. So he gave her massages instead, every night. Mum called him brilliant and said he had the most magical pair of hands in the universe.

But then there were times she snapped at everyone, and nothing pleased her, though she never hit us with a spoon. Still everyone has days like that and Dad said we needed to be understanding and not get upset if she yelled at us for stupid things.

By the time the end of November came, Mum was very large and she creaked when she walked. She also waddled like a duck. There was no way Lexy or I could snuggle in her lap when she read us a bedtime story, but we tried anyhow. Once, when she was reading to me, I saw the baby move and I asked her if it hurt.

"Not usually. But sometimes, if the baby's pressing on a sensitive spot, like my ribs or my bladder, it hurts a little."

She took my hand and placed it upon her belly and told me to wait a bit and see if the baby moved. "Little thing seems to get restless right about now."

"It doesn't know about bedtime yet." I remarked sagely.

"Not yet, but one day he or she will learn."

"How come you don't want to know what the baby is, Mum?"

"Well, I like to be surprised, and even though I know your dad knows what it is, I want to wait."

"Do you care if it's a boy or girl?"

Mum shook her head. "No. I just want it to be a healthy baby. Do you care, scamp?"

I thought about it for a long moment. "Well, a brother might be nice, so I wouldn't be the only boy. But a little sister is okay too."

All of a sudden, I felt a foot or a hand poke up from the tight surface of Mum's belly. "I felt him, Mum! Or her. It moved!"

"Yes, must be getting pretty tight in there and hard to turn around." She winced.

"I can't wait till it's born."

"Harry, neither can I!" she said feelingly, rubbing her belly. She picked up the book of myths and legends and started to read about Theseus and the Minotaur when Dad stuck his head in.

"Still awake, scamp? Your sister fell asleep fifteen minutes ago." he scolded gently.

"Dad, I felt the baby move!"

"Ah, got sidetracked, did you?" he came in and laid a hand on his wife's stomach. A moment later, he was rewarded with another kick. "Restless little imp, aren't you? Maybe we ought to sing you a lullaby."

"Please do, Sev. It's keeping me from my beauty sleep, among other things." Mum joked. "Between this one running a marathon inside me and poking my bladder . . .speaking of which. . . Sev, could you take over for me for a minute? Nature calls."

She rose to her feet and waddled off to the bathroom . . .again. Dad took her place on the bed next to me. "All right, Harry. Under the covers and put your head down."

I obeyed, snuggling into my warm blanket. But there was a question nagging at me. "Dad? Can I ask you something?"

"What is it, son?"

"Ummm . . .why's Mum got to pee all the time now?" I managed at last, it had been bugging me for awhile, and I really wanted to know the answer.

Dad paused a bit before he answered. "Well, Harry, that baby inside of her is pushing down on her stomach and bladder as it grows. All that pressure squeezes your bladder and makes you have to go more often. Think of it as if someone put a bowling ball on your stomach and then gave you a glass of water to drink. It would feel almost like this."

He placed a hand on the lower part of my belly and pushed down firmly. I squirmed, for it was uncomfortable, and it made me feel as if I had to pee right now. "Oh! That doesn't feel good, Dad."

He removed his hand then and the sensation vanished. "That's what your mum feels like all the time now, and it's why she's in and out of the bathroom."

"Poor Mum!" I understood better now. "I'm so glad I'm not a girl!"

Dad chuckled at the relief in my tone and mussed my hair. "All right, enough chatter, imp. Hush and listen to the story."

He began reading and in another minute Mum returned. "Thank you, Sev."

She went to continue, but I was almost asleep and so she shut the book and kissed me goodnight just as my eyes closed.

"Night, Mum." I mumbled.

"Sweet dreams, my Harry."

Her kiss on my forehead was the last thing I felt before I drifted away into dreamland.

On Thursday afternoon, December 9th, Lexy and I came home from school to find Grandpa waiting for us at the house. "Hello, kids. Looks like it's just you and me for the rest of the afternoon."

"How come, Grandpa?" Lexy asked. "Where's Mom?" She'd been on maternity leave for three weeks and was always home now.

"Your mother's in the hospital, kitten. She started having labor pains about an hour or so ago, so your dad took her to St. Mungos and hopefully you'll have a new baby soon."

Lexy cheered and I asked, "How long does it take to have a baby, Grandpa?"

"Uh . . .that depends."

"On what?"

"On the mother and the baby, mostly. First time mothers take longer, but this is Alaina's second child, so things should move quicker this time around, I'm betting. Your dad will call, don't worry. He left me his mirror." he waved a hand at the magic mirror on the counter. "Now, why don't you two go wash up and do your homework while I make supper?"

"Homework!" I groaned. "Grandpa, who cares about homework at a time like this?" My mother was having a baby, for Merlin's sake, and all he could think about was homework?

"Me. Don't argue, young man, just do as your told." he fixed me with one of his warning Snape glares, the one that meant he was fast reaching the end of his patience.

I sulked and dawdled. "I hate homework."

"Harry Severus, don't make me count to three."

I stuck my lower lip out stubbornly, for the last thing I wanted to do was boring old homework. But Grandpa wasn't having any of my attitude that afternoon, and he came over and took me by the shoulder, spun me around, and sent me off down the hall with a light spank to my bottom. "Get, minnow! Or else."

I went, no fool. That was a warning swat. I met Lexy returning from the bathroom. "Why are you arguing with him over homework, Harry?" she asked, giving me a disapproving frown. "You know Dad's rule."

I did, I'd lived with them longer than she had. "I know, but today's different. It's not everyday your mother has a baby."

"She hasn't had it yet," Lexy pointed out. "So you might as well do your homework, before you get in trouble, Harry."

"Yes, Mum," I mocked softly.

"Stuff it, Harry!" she ordered, then continued down the hallway.

I made a face at her, then went to wash up and do my dumb homework. I managed to finish it before supper, which was frozen pizza and garlic bread, yum!

Afterwards, we went into the den to watch TV. Dad still hadn't called. It was nearly seven o'clock.

"What's taking so long? I thought you said it was going to be born soon, Grandpa." I groused.

"Harry, babies come in their own time and not before. You just have to be patient. Why, women used to take days to have a baby sometimes."

"Days?"

"Yeah, but that was like a thousand years ago, Grandpa." Lexy said knowingly. "Back when the women didn't know how to do it the right way. We know better now."

"Oh really?" For some reason, Grandpa looked like he was trying very hard not to laugh.

"How would you know?"

"I watch the Discovery Channel with Hermione," my sister said smugly. "They've got a show on there called The Miracle of Life and it tells you stuff. You ought to watch it sometime, Harry, so you learn about stuff like that."

"That's for girls," I snorted dismissively. "No boy would be caught dead watching that."

"Dad knows all about it."

"That's different. He's a Healer, he has to know about that stuff. Right, Grandpa?"

I looked over at my only ally in this argument. Grandpa had his hand over his mouth, and his blue eyes were glimmering with humor. I didn't know what was so damn funny.

"Minnow, you're going to be in for a real shock once your parents bring that baby home."

"I can't wait," Lexy said rapturously. "I'm gonna help take care of the baby and everything. I'm gonna feed it, and dress it, and play with it and sing lullabies to it."

I rolled my eyes at her dreamy tone, she made the baby sound like one of her dolls, for Merlin's sake!

"How about changing nappies? Forgot about that, did you?" Grandpa inquired mischievously.

Lexy made a face, then said bravely, "Umm . . .I guess I can. If I have to."

"Not me," I said quickly. "No way! You couldn't pay me enough to do that."

"Figures," my sister snorted. "Boys never want to get their hands dirty."

I glared at her. "Hey, I weed the garden. But I'm not changing the baby. That's Mum and Dad's job."

"Not always. Big brothers can do it too," Grandpa said suddenly. "I changed my little brother a time or two when my mum was sick or busy with dinner."

"You did?" I was aghast. How could he?

"Quit looking at me like that. It wasn't as bad as you're thinking. And at least I wasn't totally clueless when Sev was born, like most new fathers."

"Not me. Nuh-uh!"

"You will so, if Mom or Dad says so," Lexy declared triumphantly.

"I'll run away first."

Grandpa burst out laughing. "Minnow, you're making a big deal out of nothing. I guarantee you, when the baby is born, you'll feel differently."

Ha! That's what he thought.

I would do anything else but not that, I didn't care who told me to do it.

"I'm bored," Lexy whined. "Let's play a game, Harry."

"Like what?"

"Cards. We can play Wizard's Duel."

"Okay." I went to get the deck of magic cards. Wizard's Duel was like the game War, only the cards in the magical deck actually dueled each other until one was shredded or cut.

Mum didn't like it, said it was too violent, so we never played it around her. But Grandpa wouldn't mind.

We had just started playing when the mirror chimed and Grandpa jumped to pick it up.

"Tobias Snape here," he said, activating the communication charm set into it.

"Dad, it's Severus. Just wanted to let you know . . .you're a grandfather again! Alaina and the baby are doing splendid, couldn't have asked for an easier delivery."

"Congratulations, Sev! When can we come over and see the newest Snape?"

"Now, if you want. I'll send Matthew over to Apparate you. I'll see you in a few minutes."

"Wait!" I yelled. "Dad, what did she have? A boy or a girl?"

But he was gone.

"Aww, Merlin!" I kicked the table.

"Come along, Harry. We'll find out when we get there." Grandpa put an arm around each of us while we waited for Uncle Matt to arrive, he was Dad's good friend and partner.

Uncle Matt brought us directly to the room where Mum and Dad waited with the new baby. Mum was sitting up in bed, looking tired but extremely happy, and Dad was sitting in a chair next to her bed, holding the new addition to the family.

We appeared in the room with a soft pop, and Dad looked up, rocking the bundle in his arms slightly. 'Thank you, Matt."

"No problem, Sev. Anytime."

Dad smiled at us, he looked a bit tired too, he was still wearing his hospital whites. "Come here, children, and meet your little sister."

We rushed over to see the tiny baby.

"Aww! She's so little and so beautiful! Hi, sweet thing! I'm your big sister, Lexy." Lexy grinned. "How much does she weigh?"

"Seven pounds, five ounces. And she's twenty-one inches long." Mum answered. "You were bigger, Lex."

Lexy looked pleased. "Course I was. I was the first."

For some reason the adults cracked up at that. I wasn't really paying attention, I was too busy studying my new sister. She really was beautiful. She had downy dark hair that stuck up in tufts and her eyes were the same dark blue as Grandpa's. Her little mouth was shaped like a rosebud and she had round red cheeks. She yawned sleepily, her tiny hands fisted about the pink blanket.

I reached out cautiously to touch her cheek, her skin was so soft, like rose petals. "Hi there! I'm Harry, your big brother. What's her name, Dad? You never said what you picked."

"Your mum and I decided on Eileen Lily Snape, after my mother and yours, Harry."

"Hey, Eileen," I whispered, and the tiny baby looked at me, and our eyes met.

In that instant I understood what Grandpa meant before, about feeling differently once the baby was born. I felt a warm glow go through me as I looked at baby Eileen, who I was going to love and protect forever, and suddenly I didn't care if I had to change nappies or feed her or whatever. She was my little sister.

"Can I hold her, Dad?" Lexy pleaded. "I'll be real careful, I know how, I practiced on my dolls."

"In a minute, Lexy. It's your grandpa's turn now." He gave grandma's namesake to Grandpa.

I was surprised that my grandpa even remembered how to hold a baby, it had been so long since he'd held one. But he cradled her in his arms expertly and smiled down at her. "Hello, sweetheart. Your grandma would love you to pieces." The baby waved her fist at him and cooed and Grandpa laughed. "You're a bold one aren't you? A real tigress. Like your grandmother."

"So, Harry, how does it feel to be a big brother at last?" Uncle Matt asked, his hazel eyes twinkling.

"Uh . . .Merlin, it feels great!"

'Why don't you go and sit on the bed next to your mum, Harry?" Uncle Matt suggested, pulling out his camera. "I want to get a snapshot of the whole family together."

So we all went and sat on the bed, me next to Mum, Dad next to her holding Baby Eileen, and Grandpa on his other side, holding Lexy on his knee.

"Ready? One. Two. Three."

Uncle Matt snapped our picture with his Insta-Magik camera.

The picture popped out of the bottom of the camera an instant later. It was framed in white parchment and on it Uncle Matt wrote the date and all of our names.

"Hey, you forgot Inky," Lexy objected. "He's a family member too."

"Oops. You're right. Can't forget Sev's fur-kid." He gestured, and Inky appeared in the picture next to me. "There! All present and accounted for. Beautiful!"

He passed around the snapshot and all of us admired it. It was the perfect family portrait.

Then Eileen started to cry and Dad snuggled her. "Sounds like someone's hungry. Here, Alaina, take her, she needs her mum now."

He passed Eileen to Mum, who took her and rocked her. She sure could yell loud for such a little thing. Mum was shaking a bottle of formula. "She's your daughter all right, Sev. Impatient just like her father."

The baby was wailing loudly and I covered my ears.

"Got the Snape temper too," Grandpa noted.

I heaved a sigh of relief when Mum gave Eileen the bottle.

"My daughter indeed," Dad said, sounding delighted. He gazed at the baby proudly.

Then he looked at me and Lexy and beckoned us to him. We came and snuggled against him. "Well, you've finally got a little sister. She's adorable isn't she?" We nodded. "But she's also a lot of work. Can I count on you two to help us out? Because we're going to need all the help we can get."

"I'll help, Dad," Lexy volunteered. "I'll do anything."

I hesitated. I already loved Eileen, but was I willing to do anything for her? Like change a dirty nappy?

"Harry?" Dad prompted.

"Sure, Dad," I answered then, for I was the big brother, after all. Nine was plenty grown-up, and besides, that's what big brothers were for, to love and protect their little sister. I leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on Eileen's cheek. Someday, you're going to be a great witch, and I'll teach you everything I know, including how to wheedle Dad into giving you extra allowance or dessert and I'll love you no matter what, baby sister. Welcome home, Eileen Lily Snape.

And that's the story of how Dad met Alaina, and I got a new mum and two sisters, and we all lived happily ever after.

I shut the journal then, done writing for the afternoon. Good thing too, for Eileen woke up from her nap just then and started howling. I walked quickly down the hallway to her room and picked her up. She was getting big, almost four months old, and she smiled and gurgled when she saw me.

"Brat," I teased.

She grinned goofily at me then grabbed my glasses right off my head.

"Hey!" I yelped. "Give them back, I can't see."

Eileen just laughed.

Oh, Merlin! Little sisters!

And so we come to the end of this one. How did you all like Harry's reaction his little sister, Eileen?

Now that you know about her, I can . . .finally . . .post the end chapter of FORBIDDEN FLIGHT, see I didn't forget, but didn't want to ruin the surprise either! I'll be posting the end of that story tonight.

5/17/11-I've recently written a new Never Again ficlet called Oh, My Easter Bonnet, which takes place nearly three years after the end of this story. Read this one first before reading Severus's Christmas Wish. Features little Eileen, Harry, Ron, Sev and Tobias and an Easter prank that almost causes Severus to really lose his temper.

I'll be posting a short Christmas fic with Eileen, Harry, Lexy and of course our favorite Master Healer and his wife called SEVERUS'S CHRISTMAS WISH. It's a funny piece and has a few surprises in it.

Now, who wants to see Harry, Lexy, and the family go to Hogwarts? I have a rather strange idea for a sequel that involves all the kids, and Snape taking over the infirmary for Ponfrey due to a family emergency or something, and Alaina filling in as well as a temporary Muggle Studies teacher, set in Harry's fifth year. Eileen will be six then and there might even be anothe little Snape running around too, causing mayhem. Tobias will be in this too as well. And the Ministry kicks Dumbledore out as Headmaster and replaces him with Umbridge . . .ugh! and then something even worse occurs . . .a deadly plague comes to Hogwarts, threatening all the children, one that may cost Severus all he holds dear, unless he can come up with a way to stop it. What do you think?

Again thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed this, you are all awesome and wonderful!