Don't own / Don't make money.
This is set in the From the Corner universe. You should read that first.
"But it is mine! I found it first," Hugo screeched, glaring at Ophelia. Both children, Hugo with his 4 and a half and Ophelia with her five and a quarter both held one end of a large, chocolate Easter egg. Rose was on the other side of the small garden behind the house that this family had moved in when it had been clear that there would be an addition to the family. It was a Muggle house in Kent, rural, quiet, green. It was a normal, quiet house.
The quietness was only interrupted, now, that sunny but cold Easter Sunday by the two children fighting over a single large, Muggle chocolate egg.
"I found it first!" Ophelia cried loudly and pulled but even though Hugo was younger, they were both about the same height and had the same strength and both glared deadly – a skill acquired by copying Severus Snape. Mary Kelly, who had been invited as she was almost every Sunday, almost thought it was funny – if it hadn't been so serious. Those two got along nicely most of the time but when they did get a fight (and when Mary heard about it from Severus or Hermione), all hell broke loose.
"No, I found it first. Give it to me!" Hugo cried back and pulled on the egg.
"No I did," Ophelia shook her head viciously and pulled as well.
Mary had not seen who had found it first, or if someone had and she let her gaze wonder around the garden. Instead of fighting over one single egg, Rosie plugged all the others to be found from the bushes and behind the trees (and Mary suspected the girl might be using a little accidental magic). And neither Hermione nor Severus were really paying any attention. The both lounged on a bench, well, Severus lounged and Hermione had snuggled up on his lap, four hands stroking the protruding belly. It was sickening and sweet, Mary thought, to see those two like that. The stern, gruff owner of the infamous apothecary in Knockturn Alley and his law-abiding wife, slaving away in the Ministry of Magic. She knew she was one of the very few people who were allowed to see those two like that – and especially Severus who could be so loving with his family, all of them and she felt she was included in that number.
But right now, she would have preferred if at least one of them would witness that little drama unfolding between Hugo and Ophelia. Both their little face scrunched up in anger, knuckles white from holding on to the egg tightly and Mary knew that she had to step in for once. And Ophelia usually was the more sensible one.
"Ophelia, sweetheart, why don't you go look for another egg and let Hugo have this one?" she asked gently, kneeling behind Ophelia and tried prying her hands away.
"NO!" Ophelia shouted.
"There are a lot more, sweetheart," Mary tried.
"NO!" Ophelia shouted again and grasped the egg tighter.
"Ophelia!" Severus thundered from the bench he sat on, his hands on Hermione's belly, stroking gently, "let Hugo have the egg."
Mary felt Ophelia stiffening in front of her and her hand dropped from the egg to her side before she turned around and briefly looked at Mary. Her eyes were wide and Mary knew her well enough to see that this was her way of keeping back tears.
"Ophelia," she whispered softly but before she could hold the girl back, she had darted away, and ran as fast as he little legs could carry her into the house and she sunk back on her heels with a sigh.
"I'm sorry," Hugo whispered but he munched on the egg at the same time.
"You should apologise to her, not to me," Mary sighed again.
He loved stroking Hermione's stomach. There were times when he felt as if he was almost interacting with the child growing inside, a slight push of his fingers and the unborn answered with a kick. He knew that Hermione loved it – apart from when she tried to get some much needed rest and Severus played with her stomach.
But more than anything, he was proud of his family, of the home they had built together, of all five and a half of them being together, sometimes with Mary, sometimes with Jude and John. Yes, yes, he was sometimes annoyed by the fact that the children, as soon as the novelty of living together had worn off, had started to fight often and intensely. Both he and Hermione, as only children, had no experience with that. And most of the time, he expected Ophelia especially, to be more sensible than she sometimes was behaving.
Hermione on his lap sighed and leant back closer against him. "You should maybe go and talk to her," she said softly, putting her hand on his. "The way she stomped off."
He huffed a little. "They fight over one egg. One egg," he groaned and pressed his face against her neck, breathing in her scent and dropping a kiss on the silky skin.
"Normal," Hermione giggled. "That's their way of showing that they love the other."
He huffed, kissed her neck again and lifted her off his lap before he walked to the house.
Lately, everything had changed. Ever since they had told them that there would be a little brother or sister, everything was different. Daddy didn't spend as much time with her as he used to and he always scolded her. Constantly. All the time. It almost felt as if she was back living with Mummy and Madam Slyvie. And she had thought that that time would never come again. But now, Rosie was important, Hugo was important and the baby was important. And even on those days when Rosie and Hugo went to their Daddy or to their grandparents (and not Jude and John but the other ones), Daddy and Hermione (or Mymy, sometimes she called her that) didn't spend more time with her. If she had known that Daddy marrying her would end like that, she would have never hoped for it.
When it had been just her and Daddy and sometimes Mary, Daddy had always spent so much time with her, had taken her to the zoo and to museums and to old castles and everywhere but since they had married and moved, nothing. Not one single time had Daddy gone somewhere with only her. It was unfair. Rosie and Hugo had four grandparents and a Daddy and a Mummy and Mary and her Daddy (Seddy, they called him). And she had only her Daddy and Mary and a bit of Hermione. And with the new baby, she didn't have them really.
Ophelia clenched her jaw as she stomped into her room and shut the door with a loud bang. And she couldn't even have an Easter egg. She had found it first and Hugo had followed her. And she didn't care one whit whether he was older or smarter or if there were plenty more eggs hidden. She had found that one first. And it had been hers. But Hugo needed to have everything she had. Her Daddy and her Mary.
It was unfair. And the baby would be even worse. That would get everything right from the start. Unfair. Unfair. Unfair. She sat down on the floor with her back leaning against the bed and pulled her knees up to her chest. She wasn't sure whether she should be more angry or more sad – at that moment, she was both. Very much.
She huffed but only did it because she knew that it made sure that she did not cry. And she did not want to cry. Babies cried. And she was six. She was no baby anymore. No, she huffed and huffed again and then took a deep breath. Angry was better than sad, she decided and glared at her own knees. If they didn't want her there either, she could always go, she thought.
It would be simple. She would pack the little bag that was on the bottom of her wardrobe and that usually held her swimming stuff when they all went to the pool together. All of them together. Not her and Daddy alone anymore. Just once, just once it would be great to...well. She would pack the bag and go to live with Mary. Mary still cared more about her. And she would just go, later when they were all asleep.
She still glared at her knees and her feet when the door opened. She heard immediately that it was Daddy. Daddy always walked like that, she knew his step but she didn't want to look up. Anger. Anger was better than sadness.
"Ophelia," he said and bent down a little. "It is not alright to just stomp of like that just because you didn't get what you wanted."
"I had the egg first," she mumbled, muffled. Anger.
"You're not baby anymore."
"I found the egg first," she glared up at him.
"There were more eggs. There still are more eggs hidden down there. You're usually not that stupid and stubborn."
"I am stupid and stubborn," she huffed defiantly.
"Well, if you insist," he said in his mean voice. "You can stay up here then."
Ophelia nodded grimly and lay her head on her knees, not looking at her daddy at all and just thinking about what kind of things she could stuff in the little bag.
He opened his arms and let his wife snuggle in, glad that the children were all in bed, glad that even Ophelia had stopped her temper and had been somewhat amicable for the rest of the day – even if she was completely without Easter eggs.
"Severus," Hermione whispered gently resting her head on his shoulder, before tilting her head up looking up expectantly, her lips hovering just above his.
"Did you hear that?" Hermione asked, pulling away. He had. A loud thump.
Severus grumbled. "Can't they be going to bed and stay there for one night? One night?"
She giggled softly at his complaining, especially as he already had sat up. "I have the best husband in the world," she whispered dreamily and watched as he left their bedroom in his black boxers and black t-shirt and he knew she was watching him. She always did. And it was always his task to get up and check on the children. Soft spot in his heart that he could not let her get up once she was comfortable with their child growing inside of her.
Two doors of nurseries were open. One was closed. And of course it was Ophelia's. The girl was a little difficult lately. At first, he had thought she had adjusted rather nicely to living with Hermione and her children, but lately...he shook his head to himself. He would have to talk to her about this, the fights with Hugo and Rose, the stubbornness, the talking back, that wasn't his girl.
He turned to her door just seconds before it was opened slowly and carefully from the inside and then stepped back a little. Had she fallen out of bed and now needed something? But why should her door be closed then? He knew he had left it ajar when he had tucked her in.
He almost felt his heart stopping when his girl ran into his legs, fully dressed in her skirt and robes and carrying a bag. She bounced back and stared up at him fearfully. Severus took a deep breath and grasped her by the shoulders, turning her around and manoeuvred her back into her room before he closed the door with a click. She had a bag. She was fully clothed. And she had wanted to leave her room very, very late.
It made him angry, yes, but the most prominent emotion was – fear. Heart-stopping, hands-sweating fear. "Ophelia?" he asked, his voice as steady as it could be but the girl only stared at the ground, the bag still in her hand. "Would you explain that, please?"
She shook her head but didn't look at him.
"Ophelia," he said again and let himself fall on his knees in front of her. "Why are you dressed and what's in that bag?" he asked and cupped her chin in his hand, making her look up at him. "Did you want to run away?"
Her eyes were downcast but he was silent, did not ask more, until she nodded once.
"Why?" he asked, utterly confused, the anger almost gone and the worry and fear and confusion overlaying anything else. "Why, little witch? Because of the fight this morning?"
A moment later, he had his arms full a crying girl, the robes scratching on his bare arms. "You love the baby more and you never spend time with me anymore and everyone else is important and Rose and Hugo have a Mummy and a Daddy and you and Mary and their grandparents and I don't have anyone anymore because the baby is more important and nobody even believed me that I found the egg first," she spluttered. "And I did but you didn't even listen to me and you just yelled at me and..." she had to stop, fresh sobs escaping her even as she pressed herself tightly against.
Severus was dumbstruck. She was feeling – left behind. And maybe, lately, he had paid more attention to Hermione and her stomach and since she would never forgive him if he gave Ophelia preferential treatment over her children, he had not spent as much time with her as he usually would. He had not even taken her to the apothecary anymore with him, even when she asked to be taken.
"Oh, my girl," he whispered in her ear.
"It's unfair, Daddy," she sobbed, "I was a good girl but nobody sees it because the baby is always kicking and everything and everything is more important always and you don't love me anymore."
He gasped and kissed the top of her head. "Of course I love you, you daft little witch," he whispered gently before he carefully and without letting go of her, helped her out of her robes. "And you'll always be my little witch and I'll always love you. I'm sorry you feel that I paid more attention to everything else."
"It is really mean," she whispered into his chest.
"But running away? You know you have to talk to me when you don't feel well," he held her very tight again, afraid to let go of her.
She nodded and clung to his neck.
"Where did you want to go?"
"To Mary," she explained shakily. "Mary loves me."
"We all love you," he answered immediately. "Oh little witch, you scared me. I can't let you go anywhere. You're my little witch. Nobody else is and nobody else will ever be."
"No but, little witch, you're mine. You're mine. I won't let you go anywhere. You're my little witch. Do you understand that?"
After a moment, Ophelia nodded slowly and just as slowly, she looked up at him. "Can we do something when it's just us?" she asked very quietly and that made him pull her in his arms again, stroking her hair, stroking her back.
"Absolutely," he replied and after holding her for a long long while, he helped her get undressed and tucked her in again.
"I love you, Daddy," she whispered.
"I love you too, little witch."
"And we will really go somewhere just us together?"
He nodded and pressed a kiss on her forehead. "I promise. On Tuesday. First thing in the morning. We can go to the zoo."
She nodded back, smiling a little.
"Sleep now," he whispered as he saw her yawning and backed out of the room, breathing deeply, willing his still hammering heart to slow. He would have to pay attention whom he paid attention. Severus ran his fingers through his hair and stepped back into the bedroom he shared with his wife.
"Everything alright?" she asked, sitting up.
He nodded, slowly. "Ophelia and I will go to the zoo on Tuesday."