Title: Venus Going Down, or Mars
Pairings/Characters: Max, Crassus, various OC babies
Rating: K because babies.
Notes: Max and Veradis have babies. Crassus is befuddled and makes mental notes to never, ever be caught flat-footed if his brother and sister-in-law need a baby-sitter.
Max never did have the good sense to do only one ridiculous thing when he could do two. "Twins," Crassus says hollowly. He sounds like an idiot. The babies blink back at him with identical pairs of judgmental gray eyes as if to say, Our uncle is an idiot. We don't know how much hope we can have of this world if our immediate family is filled with idiots.
Max claps him on the back but doesn't seem to be listening to anything beyond the sound of his own happiness. "Beautiful, aren't they?"
They're not beautiful, as a matter of fact. They're quite small and have over-large heads and pink old-man faces and wrinkly little hands with absurdly sharp little nails. "Have you decided what to name them?" Crassus asks. "I don't want to keep calling them Baby Number One and Baby Number Two."
"Vereus," Max says. He rubs Baby Number Two's belly with his right hand as he says so. "And Macius." Baby Number One captures Max's finger in what already seems like an iron grip.
It's not surprising, Crassus notes, that any baby Max had a hand in producing would be a rosy, robust specimen of the breed. "You're not going honor our side of the family in this?" he asks.
Max's grin takes on a sardonic edge. "I'll honor you when you're dead, little brother."
Crassus tries to smile back, because they might be broken and missing a few limbs and collared to wills beyond their own and some members of it will probably never be on speaking terms, but their family is still alive. Had he been a betting man, he wouldn't ever have taken those odds. "Fair enough," Crassus says. "Fair enough." And then he tries his hand at holding a nephew.
Of course, Vereus begins bawling in Crassus face and quiets immediately when Max takes him back, and then Macius throws up on him, so Crassus decides as he's sponging vomit off his shoulder that while he's happy for Max and Veradis, he wants no babies of his own just yet. Succession crises came and go, he thinks. Parenthood was indeed forever.