AN: This is the third story in the Young Order series. If you haven't read the others, read "Frater Gemini" first and then "Inter Duos Tutela.
Remus Lupin and Audrey Wynne walked hand in hand along the beach in Salem, Massachusetts, where their families were vacationing before Audrey's sister, nieces and nephews moved to join them in Scotland at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Hogwarts was where Remus and Audrey had met just a few shorts months before. Remus had been teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts and Audrey had come to Hogwarts determined to work under the Potions Master, Severus Snape, on her final project for her masteries in both Healing and Potions. Her final project had been to improve the Wolfsbane Potion that he relied on each month. Remus had fallen in love with her, but only recently had worked up the courage to ask her on a date. It had only been a few weeks, but he knew that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.
Out in the waves the two boys he loved as his own and her niece and nephew splashed happily. The four had become friends during the last year and they, along with six of their friends, had formed what was being called "The Young Order." The 'old' Order was the Order of the Phoenix, an organization founded by Albus Dumbledore during the last Wizarding war to combat the Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort. With Voldemort's downfall the Order had been disbanded. Now there were stirrings about a return of the dark wizard, Albus had reformed the Order.
Four younger children were building a sand castle that resembled Hogwarts. "That has to be Siri's doing," he told the woman at his side. Little Siri was actually Sirius Black, Remus' friend from his own Hogwarts days. After a twelve year stay in Azkaban, there had been a rough few months before Remus and Severus had convinced him to take a de-aging potion as a way to let his mind heal, not only from his time in Azkaban but also from his childhood. The last few months had been good for both Sirius and Severus, who had been a double agent since the beginning of the first Wizarding war.
They were an odd family, but a family all the same. The Marauders had been quite cruel to Severus Snape while all five had been students at Hogwarts. But now Severus was raising one Marauder and the twin sons or another and considered Remus as a brother.
"Maybe we'll have a pack of our own someday," Audrey said, wrapping an arm around his waist as they stood watching the children play on the sand and in the water.
"A pack, huh?" he asked, moving her to stand in front of him and tucking her head under his chin.
She nodded. "A pack. I've seen you with Sev's boys. You'd make a wonderful father."
"Know so," she told him. "I know you want children of your own and I can't deny that I haven't dreamed of a half-dozen or so myself…"
He laughed. "A half-dozen or so?"
She just nodded, smiling at him.
"In that case we ought to get started on that half-dozen soon."
"You'll have to marry me first, Professor Lupin."
He grinned. "How quickly can such things be arranged here?" he asked her.
"You just have to know the right people."
"And you do?"
She nodded again. "Halle's father-in-law, Director Cole, can perform a Wizarding ceremony. That is if he's free this weekend."
"Then we better make sure he's free."
"You haven't asked me yet, Remus," she told him smugly.
He took her face gently in both hands and kissed her softly, before getting down on one knee. "I know we haven't known each other very long, but I know that I love you liked I have loved no other. I also know that I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you do me the honor of becoming my wife, Audrey Mae Wynne?"
"Yes. Of course I will," she replied with a smile, pulling him back to his feet and kissing him.
"Uncle Remus!" Siri called from where he and the others were building their Hogwarts sandcastle.
Remus broke the kiss and buried his face in Audrey's hair for a moment before turning to Siri. "Yes, pup?"
"Come help us!"
Laughing, Audrey pulled him over to the children, kneeling between ten-year-old Georgia and eight-year-old Johnny. Remus knelt between Siri and Ana, who was a year older than the de-aged boy. "What can we help with?" he asked them.
"We dug the lake that Siri told us about," Georgia answered. "But it needs water and the squid. Does the Black Lake really have a squid?"
Audrey began filling the hole they had dug with water while Remus gathered a few shells that were nearby, transfiguring one into a toy squid. "It does have a squid, Georgia. It also has grindylows and merpeople," he answered.
"Merpeople?" Ana asked, her dark eyes bright as she looked up at him. Of the three Cole children, Ana was the quiet one.
"Yes, merpeople," he replied, transfiguring one of the shells into a tiny mermaid and handing it to her.
"I've never seen a mermaid that looks like that."
"That is what merpeople really look like, sweetie."
Ana gave a little nod and put her mermaid into the lake, watching as it dove beneath the water.
Bill Weasley stood at the gates of Hogwarts School and stared up at the castle that had been his home for seven years. He had only been back twice since his graduation: once when Charlie had graduated and again just a month before when Percy had graduated. He had not planned on returning until the twins graduated, if they didn't get expelled first, in two years.
The summons from Headmaster Dumbledore had taken him by surprise. While here for Percy's graduation, he had agreed to become a member of the new Order of the Phoenix, but had expected to be nothing more than a set of ears where he worked in Egypt for the goblins. But Dumbledore's summons had been urgent and the goblins agreed to let him go.
Sighing deeply, he walked across the lawn and into the castle. He gave the password and rode the staircase up to the Headmaster's office. "You wanted to see me, sir..." He said, walking through the open door of the office.
"Yes, my boy," Albus said. When Bill sat down he continued. "When you were here a few weeks ago, I spoke to you about using your expertise in breaking some curses."
"Yes sir. Am I to assume that you have need of my...talents...now?"
Albus nodded. "Severus and Remus have taken the boys for a bit of a holiday to America. Salem to be exact."
"Salem? As in the witch trials?"
Again the old man nodded. "The same. You know that Severus was a Death Eater turned spy. While at a museum, the Mark began to burn. I'd like you to go to America and help him figure out what is causing the Mark to burn...and how to get rid of it."
"When do I leave?" The eldest Weasley son asked.
"Today. I've arranged an International Portkey for you this afternoon."
"I'll go pack a bag and return."
It was Severus and Halle's afternoon to watch the children on the beach and they both looked up from their books when they heard a loud screech. Ten feet away Ana was trying to get something out of her hair while Siri stood nearby giggling. "I swear his middle name is trouble," he told the woman as they hurried over to see what had happened.
There was a rather large piece of seaweed tangled in Ana's hair and as Halle knelt to help her daughter Severus turned his dark gaze on his youngest son. "What do you have to say for yourself, Mr. Black?"
"I was just playing," Siri said as innocently as possible.
"Does it look like she's having fun?" he asked.
Siri looked at his friend who now had large tears rolling down her cheeks. "I guess not."
"Apologize right now and then you are going to take a nap."
"But Pop…" he whined. He continued whining and protesting, even when Pop held up one finger. But when a second finger joined the first, he hurried to apologize to his friend, remembering that Draco had once told him that if Pop started counting, he better do as he had been told right quick.
While Siri apologized, Severus looked out at where he older two sons were playing in the water. He whistled to them and gestured to let them know that he was taking Siri back up to the large cottage that the two families had rented. Severus held his hand out to Siri and the boy took it, skipping alongside the Potions Master as they walked back to the cottage.
"Do I have to take a nap?" the boy asked as they climbed the steps to the porch.
Severus cast a Cleaning charm on the boy to get all the sand off of his arms and legs and out of his hair. "You most certainly do." He lifted the boy into his arms and carried him into his room, setting him on the floor while he turned down the blanket.
"Why I gotta nap in your bed?" Siri asked him.
"Because I don't want the boys waking you up if they come in early," Severus told him.
Siri made a face, yelping when his father turned him around and landed two sharps swats on his backside. "Ow! That hurted."
"It was supposed to, silly boy."
He gave his smarting backside a quick rub before climbing up on the bed. "Can you read me a story?" he asked, giving the Potions Master his best puppy dog eyes.
"You're a spoiled brat, you know that?"
"But you love me," Siri told him, having heard Uncle Remus say that to Pop anytime Pop said something like that.
Severus shook his head as he grabbed one of the children's books that he had bought for Siri just a few days before and sat down next to the boy. "I think I need to limit how much time you spend with your Uncle Remus." Siri just pouted up at him. "Lay down…" The boy stretched out, leaning his back against his father's chest so that he could see the pictures as the man read. He liked listening to his Pop read to him and would listen for hours if he could convince the Potions Master to read that many stories to him.
Once the boy was settled Severus began reading him the story of a peddler who sold caps, all of them that he would wear on top of his own checkered cap. One day the peddler grew tired and sat down under a tree for a nap. When he woke up all but his own cap was missing. They had been stolen by monkeys who now sat in the tree wearing the caps. Every time the peddler tried to do something to get his caps back, the monkeys just imitated his actions. In frustration and anger the peddler finally threw his cap on the ground and the monkeys did the same thing. The peddler picked up his caps, put them back on his head and went back to selling them.
"I liked that story, Pop," Siri said sleepily, turning on his side and snuggling close to his father.
"I had a feeling you would," Severus replied, setting the book aside and stroking the boy's hair.
"Do I still have to take a nap?"
The Potions Master smiled. "Yes, Siri. You have to take a nap. But I'll stay with you until you fall asleep."
"Thanks, Pop," the boy whispered, closing his eyes. He was asleep within moments and Severus eased him onto the bed and tucked him in, leaving the room.
"You had an owl," Remus told him when he walked into the kitchen.
"Thanks," Severus replied, moving to pick up the letter that had been sent. He recognized the handwriting on sight. Albus. "Must you corrupt all of my sons?" he asked, half-teasing. He then told him what Siri had said.
Remus laughed. "He spends a lot of time with both of us Sev. Having Halle and the kids at Hogwarts will be good for him."
Severus leaned against the counter as he opened his letter. "I wrote Albus about what happened with my Mark when we went to the museum." He scanned the letter. "He's sending Bill Weasley over this afternoon to see if he can help us figure out what happened."
"Bill's the one that's the curse-breaker for Gringott's, right?"
"That's right. And from what I understand, he's quite good at it too. Completed in his three-year apprenticeship in just a year. He was Head Boy and top of his class."
"Sounds like he can handle the job." Remus cocked his head to the side as if listening for something. "The pups are coming in."
Moments later the front door opened and they could hear Harry and Draco arguing about Quidditch rather loudly. Severus stepped out of the kitchen. "You two quiet down before you wake up your brother."
Draco rolled his eyes. "Fine. We'll make sure not to wake up the little twerp," he said, his tone light and teasing.
Severus turned him toward the hall and gave him a playful swat. "Shower, dragon." He watched as his oldest two sons walked down the hall toward the room that all of the boys were sharing, still arguing about Quidditch.
AN: Sorry that it took me so long to get this out. I had it all outlined and was ready to start when real life got crazy, but after six weeks, it has finally settled down again. And in all that craziness, I've thrown away my outline almost completely. So we'll see what happens.