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Ten years later

It was the night before Christmas

And all through the house

Came a rumble like thunder

A shriek and a shout

The shrieker was placed

On the beds with great care

In hopes that the medi wizard

Soon would be there.

Christmas had always had a special meaning in this strange but close family. The family had grown over the past ten years. The Christmas Eve party had become a tradition. Every year they would gather. Then spilt up on Christmas day to do their own thing, in their smaller family units. Molly confided to Remus one year that she loved having a huge family gathering but having Christmas day for just herself and Arthur again. Which also explained the contraceptive potion Severus supplied them with. Not that he was meant to know about that.

The party consisted of;

Molly and Arthur. Arthur was still working in his department, but now he had seven team members working to not only fix the Muggle/Magical mix ups, but as an education tool for Magical family's. Molly had decided that now that all her children were grown up and married she was going to go to work, and had taken over the running of the twins Joke shop in Diagon Alley.

Bill and Fleur with, 9 year old Oscar and 7 year old Sophie. Bill still worked for Gringotts Fleur worked part time teaching French.

Charlie and Brian with, 7 year old Martin and 1 year old Mary. They had met on the Dragon reserve in Bulgaria, but now rang a preserve in Wales for the rare Welsh Green; The preserve was called Merlin's Retreat.

Percy and Penelope with, 9 year old Penny, 8 year old Piper, 7 year old Paige, 6 year old twins Prudence and Phoebe, 5 year old Patricia. Penelope was also 3 months pregnant with their 7th child a boy this time much to Percy's relief; they were going to call him Philip. Percy was all set to become the next Minister for Magic; he was currently second only to Kingsley Shacklebolt.

George and Katie with, 9 year old triplets Fred, Simon and Katharine.

Fred and Angelina with their set of 9 year old triplets George Megan and Hazel.

Having triplets not twins was a bit of a shock, but then neither twin ever did anything by halves.

Fred and George, the elders, couldn't bear to be apart, so the two families' lived together in Hogsmead in a huge house not far from the high street, where their new flag ship shop was, complete with a basement workshop. The children had been brought up more like brothers and sisters than cousins; they each called both sets of parents Mum and Dad. It confused the hell out of anyone who wasn't family, which was an added bonus.

Ron and Hermione had 9 year old Haden and 7 year old Molly.

Ginny and Neville had 7 year old twins Alice and Frank. They had been named in memory of Neville's parents who passed away a year before they were born. Neville owned and ran the most successful gardens in Europe, he had two sections one for people to come to and just look and be surrounded by beauty, and the Wizard only section for potions ingredients, it was the go to place for everything, especially since 'The Severus Snape' would go nowhere else.

Luna and Dudley were there too, with 9 year old Stella and 7 year old Willow.

Harry and Draco were of course there, they lived in the castle full time, and they shared the deputy headmaster's job, allowing them time with their family. Harry also was the medi wizard for the school working with Poppy, and Draco taught Transfiguration. Their children were 9 year old twins Sirius and Severus and two sets of 7 year old twins, Antony and Mark which had been carried by Harry, and Luke and Remus which Draco had carried.

Not that having 6 children had slowed them down, Harry and Draco knew from their own childhood that the wizarding world was sorely lacking in many areas, and so they started to set up a new system with a great deal of help from many people. There was now a day school for 4 to 10 year olds, just like in the Muggle world, a book was created to allow them to find magical children from birth and educate the families on what to expect and what kind of world they were now a part of. The school took over education of the children, passed off as a school for the gifted to anyone who asked. It allowed for children from Muggle backgrounds to learn about their new world and for children from a solely wizarding backgrounds would learn and interact with the Muggle world.

It worked wonderfully, the school was called 'The Garden,' because it was meant to help the children flourish, but it was often called 'Mini Warts,' by the children, so much so it was tacked on under the sign after the first few years. Hermione was headmistress and several other family members worked there, Dudley drove the school but, picking up all the children from their door and taking them home again, he was very good with the children and quick to spot and put a stop to bullying, he was able to connect with bullies and find out what was causing them to act out on a level that others couldn't. Luna was an English Literature teacher; her mind was perfect to teach the magic of fiction to children.

Ron had gone to work as an Auror just like he always dreamed, but a year later he was fed up and board of the job, so he'd gone to work with Hermione as the Sports instructor, not just to teach Quidditch but he taught all sports, Muggle and Magical alike. At least when he met up with Dean now he could argue about football and know what he was talking about.

Dobby and Winky had bonded and as free elves quit their jobs at Hogwarts to go to 'The Garden' and take care of all meals and help with the children, their own children attended the school and were much loved. Just like their parents they were very independent and bright. They spent the Christmas holidays with their own extended family in the Hogwarts kitchen.

That left Severus and Remus, just as Remus had promised he did deliver a litter of 8 children during their first pregnancy, which were now 9 years old. The second litter had 6 children who were now 7, but a complication during the second birth meant that he couldn't carry any more children. But they figured that 14 kids were enough. Remus refused stubbornly to number the children to save time as Severus suggested. So the first litter were named Matt, Rose, Lily, Chris, Adam, Megan, James and Jane. James and Jane were the only identical ones. The second litter had Lauran, Clio, Mark, Steven, Roan and Gretel. Gretel had almost died when she was born, she was the last to be born and if it hadn't been for Harry's quick thinking and medical training the tiny little girl would have been lost. She was still the apple of Uncle Harry's eye.

Remus stood watching all the madness sipping his hot chocolate, the gift exchange was always like watching warfare without the bloodshed. Each family unit had their own gift opening on Christmas morning but this was between different units so it wasn't too overwhelming for one morning. Severus wrapped his arms around Remus from behind resting his head on the shorter man's shoulder.

"Everything alright love?" Severus asked gently enjoying the feel of his lover in his arms.

"Just happy, it's my favourite time of year, us all together like this. Do you think they'll come?"

"You ask me that every year, and every year they do. We might have no control over this contact, but they haven't let us down yet. But until they do arrive, I have some news for you," Severus whispered in Remus' ear.

Remus dropped his mug and screeched. "You're What?!"

Severus laughed at the reaction and repaired the broken 'world's best wolf' mug Remus had dropped. Oblivious to the silence that had descended and the audience of 62. "I'm pregnant, were going to have another baby. Just one thank the gods."

"What. When. How?" Remus stuttered.

"You know how sick I've been in the last 6 months? Well I finally took your advice and talked to Poppy this morning. I'm pregnant, it was morning sickness and other pregnancy related symptoms. I'm not really sick."

"When?" Remus was reduced to one words, it was rather amusing.

"Well I wasn't going to tell you until tomorrow, a sort of a Christmas morning gift. But unfortunately, our little miracle, has decided to make an appearance at our family gathering. So the when would have to be, well, now."

Remus just caught Severus as a contraction hit. The room erupted into movement and noise again. Harry summoned a table and he and Remus settled Severus onto it. Everyone had been through enough births to know what was needed; Molly kept the children from getting too close as the newest member of their family joined them.

Severus refused to leave the Great Hall after the healthy little boy had made his way into the world, so he was settled into a comfortable bed propped up on many pillows holding baby Albus in his arms.

The spirits arrived at 11pm, to spend their hour a year with their loved ones, this year, the six original spirits were joined by two more. Frank and Alice Longbottom cried with their son, it had taken time for death to heal them to where they could come back for this short but cherished visit. Remus was off talking to James and Sirius, Lily was talking to Harry and Draco with Lucius.

Minerva came and sat on Severus' bed.

"How are you my boy?" She asked stroking little Albus' check.

"I'm tired. I have just given birth, has death made you blind old woman?" Severus teased lovingly.

"Apart from that, how are you?" She amended.

"My family now consists of 65 people, including myself, in a few months another one will join that number. Not to mention the extra members that will join that number in the next few years. And that's just this generation. If this trend for multiple births continues as it has done across the country, the school will have to be expanded."

Minerva smiled. "Yes we noticed that too. Albus has a theory that Magic hasn't wanted to send too many children into a war torn world so it's making up for it now. And you are the head of a wonderful family."

"For a man who believed himself destined to die alone and unloved, it is a wonderful thing," Severus sighed and kissed his new son's head contentedly.

"They are gone by the way."

"What are?" Severus asked looking up.

"The chain's my son. You are free of them," Minerva leaned over and kissed the son of her heart. "I'm going to see my Grandchildren."

Severus smiled down at his son. "Welcome to the family Albus, you'll get used to the madness after a few years, or so they keep telling me, I'll have to let you know when I find out if it's true. But we do have one tradition in this family," Severus waved his wand and the well-known tune of Blue Moon sang out across the hall. Remus came and snuggled with Severus on the bed and Severus gently sang his son to sleep as the rest of his family sang and danced together.

Christmases weren't supposed to be perfect, there were always going to be arguments and cross words, but there was also making up, and family, too much food, at least one broken toy, the secret swap shop the kids thought the parents didn't' know about. And family and love. It was as close to perfect as it was possible to get.

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