The Vow And Its Consequences
Clusters upon clusters of people were surrounding the conceal magical platform on the other side of the Muggle platform nine and three quarters. All of them saying their last minute goodbye's to their children, niece's, nephews, wards and magical foster children. Much had changed in such a short time, six years, six years had gone by since Severus and the others had returned from Albania.
A lot had happened in that time, Avery, Crabbe and Nott had just up and disappeared. Nobody knew what happened to them, and not a trace had been found. During that time Narcissa got in touch with their wives and gave them suggestions. Informing them to transfer funds – nothing outrageous – into a vault in their name in the years it would take for them to be legally declared dead. So that when it did happen, they weren't going to be without funds until their sons took over the estate when they were seventeen. To ensure that they always had money for the future, enough to buy themselves a little house, at least, in case the boys didn't want their mother living at the manor.
Not that it was required, since the three women had just taken on full time jobs at her husband's children home – or orphanage – having preciously worked part-time, during their sons tutoring practices. They had come out of their shells, and Narcissa was proud of the process they'd made. They were happier than she'd ever seen them, and she soon found out why. The abuse they'd suffered…Narcissa hadn't had any idea, it horrified her that she'd been so ignorant to their suffering. She had been even more glad that her husband had dealt with them, and considering there was never a hint of suspicion sent their way, she reckoned the wives were completely in the dark to their activities.
They weren't the only ones, many had come forward, after an extended heart wrenching stay in St. Mungo's after the mark disappeared entirely. There had been no guarantee that they would survive, and many of them had been a surprise since some were from so called 'light' families. The men were promptly arrested, unfortunately, they weren't sentenced for as long as they would have liked. With magically enforced contracts preventing him from approaching their wives and children, they were as safe as the Ministry could make them. The public outcry had forced the Ministry to offer better protection to the witches in magical Britain. When the laws changed…quite a few people came forward, not all pressing charges but wishing for protection.
Suddenly the wizarding world embraced the concept of it takes a village mentality. They were helping each other out more, less prejudice on whom they hired. It was wonderful, not seeing them all relegated to Knockturn Alley, which a few building companies had sorted out 'pro-bono' in order to advertise just how good they were at fixing problems. Another helpful idea from Narcissa of course, but don't go telling them that. They were after all, under the impression that they had thought it up all on their own.
"The student population has doubled in only a few years," Sirius said, in slight disbelief. "I know Minerva has told us…but seeing it is another thing entirely. Sure it's always packed…but never like this!" holding his four-year-old daughter in his arms, he had adopted her, she was so mischievous and well, he'd been unable to resist her little jokester nature. It was as if she was meant to be his.
"I want to go with them!" the aforementioned thought little girl protested, Cassiopeia made a grabby gesture to get to the boys.
"We'll write every day Cass! I promise!" Harry said, letting her clutch at his hand which was soppy wet from where she'd been sucking on her blood pop.
Cass pouted, but she'd already been through it, she knew she wasn't going to get to go with them. She couldn't go until she was older, which had been explained a million times.
"You too Al," Harry said, ruffling his 'cousins' hair, Alphard was definitely more composed and quiet, like Remus, and older, eight-years-old to be exact.
"Promise?" Alphard Lupin-Black asked, gazing shyly at Harry, his gold eyes – which he had gotten from Remus after taking the adoption potion – glowed. Thankfully though, that was all he'd gotten from Remus, the rest of him looked like a carbon copy of Sirius at that age.
"Yep!" Harry nodded vigorously.
Draco was having the same conversation with his own sisters, his twin sisters. Lyra and Delphinus unsurprisingly, keeping to the Black tradition in naming their children after stars. Narcissa at Severus' advice had gone to the Muggle specialists, which had been a very uncomfortable time in her life. It had been worth it, the second attempt she'd gotten pregnant, with twins of all things, there hadn't been twins in the Malfoy or Black family before. The rambunctious five-year-olds had been born with black wavy hair like the Black's but had Lucius' eyes. Narcissa had never felt more complete than the moment she finally, finally had that little girl she had been so desperate for, and she'd been gifted with two.
"Boy's the train is about to depart, go on, head in before they can't keep your seats," Remus urged them, as always the voice of reason. The 'they' in that statement were the Weasley twins, Lee Jordan and Neville Longbottom who Harry and Draco were friends with, along with Aiden Avery, Vincent and Gregory Crabbe and Goyle and of course Theodore Nott. Then there was Luna, but she wasn't going until next year, Pandora – who worked with Severus and Lucius on various projects both spells and potions – didn't like being reminded of her daughters impending and ever looming appointment that was her Hogwarts education. She'd made not only a name for herself, but enough that they had moved out of their property and bought a mansion, which was just as odd inside as their little abode. Which had been rented out, giving them more income.
"And remember it's Headmistress McGonagall," Severus informed them in faux seriousness, Selena coughed out a laugh, finding herself amused from where she was wrapped around Severus. Or rather Severus was wrapped around her protectively, she was currently eight and half months pregnant.
"We'll try to remember," Harry and Draco declared in faux innocence right back. "You'll tell me when the baby is born right?" Harry added, disappointed that he wouldn't be there to see his brother or sister born. Selena – who had married his dad a year ago – had wanted it to be a surprise so they didn't know.
"Of course, and send lots of pictures," Selena promised, she'd never asked Harry to call her mum, but she loved the boy like her own. She never grudged the time Severus spent with him, and she also knew the truth, that this little one was actually Harry Potter. Not so little anymore, he was still shy sometimes though, but with Draco's help he'd came into his own.
"Three months then you'll be home for the holidays," Severus added, letting go of his wife, who he had met at a potions conference, she was a fellow potions Mistress, no surprise there, and they'd decided to collaborate on a potion together, and to nobodies surprise when it happened, they'd begun a relationship. He hugged his son tightly, Lucius had been correct, the time had just flown by.
He couldn't believe his son was going to Hogwarts. Then again, he couldn't believe his wife was pregnant with their child or that he was married. It's not how he'd envisioned his future at all, but there you have it.
The whistle had every single student on the platform suddenly making a dive for the train. All of them waving last minute goodbye's, eyes alight with wonder and happiness at finally, finally getting to experience Hogwarts.
"I never expected the group home to take off so well," Narcissa commented, "Or for people to so adopt so many," which was true enough, she had contemplated adopting at one point, especially after the first failed attempts at IVF. She was grateful she hadn't, not when she felt the very real daughters she had in her arms. They weren't hypothetical they were much loved and she'd very much anticipated their arrival.
Hell she couldn't believe Sirius and Remus had adopted two of them! But in hindsight they had chosen well. Fortunately, Remus kept them all grounded but being a father had changed Sirius immensely. It was that change that heralded Harry's own transformation when it came with Remus and Sirius, no longer worried they'd take him away, that they just wanted to be part of his life. They had become 'Uncle Remus and Uncle Sirius' along with his 'cousins' the names no longer casting fear into his heart.
"It's a good thing," Severus murmured, there were pureblood's adopting 'Fosterage' to the eleven-year-old's that were due to enter Hogwarts. Some were smart enough to receive the scholarship, others had to rely on pureblood influential families for patronage a practice that had and still continued to this day, although England hadn't ever gotten into the Fosterage like the rest of Britain. Normally it was a gateway to a possible arranged marriage, but whether this heralded such an occasion…well, they would have at least seven years before they found out.
Back in the day Fosterage was big amongst clan leaders, and Lord's of estates children would leave their parents estates and be brought up in that other chiefs or Lords estate and create a bond of kinship that helped cement alliances and mutual bonds of obligation. It was the same here, and he wasn't blind to the fact those given 'Fosterage' had at least half-blood status. He would ensure they knew that they didn't need to do something they weren't comfortable with at all, that they weren't obligated to marry into the family for that aid. If they tried to put pressure on the teen…well it wasn't just him he'd have to deal with but Lucius and Narcissa as well.
"It is," Narcissa agreed, as much as they made in donations…it wouldn't have been enough to see them going to Hogwarts for seven years as well as making sure they were all eating and dressing well. Not too forgot the entire workforce, also. They had worked tirelessly for the past five years plus many months to get all the magical children out of other homes and foster situations and into their rightful world. Ensuring those that were adopted or Muggle borns were happy and safe in their living situations. Grunting a little, when her daughter got too enthusiastic in waving her big brother away as the train began to depart. "Did you give Harry the cloak and his wand?" she added, she knew Severus had been conflicted on whether or not to do so.
"Yes, we tried going to Ollivander's, but none of the wands felt right," Severus admitted, "In the end I just let him have the wand…I can only hope that this decision doesn't come back to bite me."
"And the cloak?" Narcissa queried.
"I did," Severus said grudgingly, "It isn't mine to keep from him, but I did make him promise not to use if for too many frivolous reasons…" trying to make him promise not to use it would be too much. "I did tell him if I suspected him of misusing it I'd take it away until he was seventeen." And legally an adult.
"They're too smart to get caught," Lucius commented smugly, finding no fault in his statement.
Narcissa and Severus groaned, while continuing to wave.
Before too long the train had gone out of sight, and people were Apparating away from the station.
"Thank Merlin, now can we go? I need to sit down!" Selena grumbled, grunting at the backache she had, "And I need to pee!" not shy about complaining in the slightest. She hadn't wanted to miss Harry going off on the train, so she'd forced herself to come. Now that it was done, she wanted to return home.
"Think you'll have another child?" Lucius whispered into Severus' ear.
Severus gave him a look that suggested he was insane, "I'm not going through this again," he whispered right back, it was insanity, he wasn't sure how she did it, he'd tried to stick it out with her, not going near potions…he'd failed within two weeks. She had been driving him up the wall since, but he loved her regardless, but couldn't wait until the little one came and things could go back to some semblance of normality.
Lucius chuckled, his gaze roaming over his wife and two daughters, "It's worth it," every single second of it. He wasn't sure they'd do it again, but they were definitely worth it though. He was so grateful to Severus for pushing them in that direction,
"We're heading home, we'll see you later," Remus said, "Although we have no doubt that both boys will end up in Slytherin." Draco had taught Harry well, a little too well really. It didn't help that he'd been raised by three Slytherins, and a guy who was more Ravenclaw – himself – than Gryffindor and of course, a Gryffindor through and through, going where even angels fears to tread.
"Of course they will," Lucius said insulted by the mere mention of it, course they'd end up in Slytherin, there would never be any other house for his boy.
Sirius chuckled, grinning wryly, a different man than he used to be, "Come on button, let's head home," he told Cass, clutching her close, he'd taken the day off to see Harry away on the train, but back to work tomorrow, Remus was the one who watched the kids, there were still some prejudice that ran too deep. So he spent his afternoon's reading to the children in Little Hangleton and becoming the unofficial librarian. Refusing to take any money, it didn't feel right, he was just doing his part, plus it let the children met kids their own age and play and have fun. He hadn't had that as a child, Remus had been so secluded so nobody would find out…so he always made sure they got to have fun with kids their own age.
With that the group begun to disperse, Lucius, Narcissa and the twins left, Sirius, Remus and their two little ones and that just left Severus and Serena to head home to Prince Hall.
Severus and Serena had a lazy day, Serena reading and Severus compiling lists of potential potions and working on one specifically. He and his wife didn't always collaborate, they worked on their own thing half the time.
"Severus…" Serena's voice had a vulnerable edge to it that Severus hadn't heard since she confessed to being pregnant.
Severus automatically looked up, a frown marring his features, "What's wrong?" his work abandoned immediately .
"I think…yes, I think it's time," Serena groaned, as her waters broke, that's what she got for ignoring the pain that had been travelling down her back all day.
"Let's get you dried up and in bed, I'll call the healer afterwards," Severus feigned calm, but he was anything but calm on the inside. His heartrate had shot up drastically, pursing his lips in pain as his wife grasped a hold of him with a grip that could break bones. "AHHHH" she screamed, unable to hold it in.
Great, now he was deaf, Severus thought wryly, soon he'd add broken bones to the list, because her grip was steadily getting more painful.
Within fifteen minutes, Selena was in bed, as comfortable as she'd get, and the healer and Medi-witch was helping her through it with Severus. She had absolutely refused to have her child in St. Mungo's instead electing to give birth at home.
Everyone was exhausted by midnight, but they did have a bit of good news.
"What does it say?" Selena asked, panting heavily, staring at her husband, who had a letter from their son.
"No surprises, he's in Slytherin with Draco, what IS surprising is Neville's placement," Severus said amused.
Selena frowned, staring at him, "Hufflepuff?" it would be her second bet.
"Indeed," Severus nodded, confirming her guess was correct.
It wasn't until four AM that little Tiberius Caligula Prince was brought into the world. Named after his wife's father and grandfather – who were both regretfully deceased – and Severus definitely didn't want any child of his named after his parents.
The Medi-witch took a picture of the family, which Severus intended on sending straight to Harry. He had a little brother, no doubt he was going to be ecstatic. Another little boy…Merlin, he prayed he didn't screw up too badly, but as he held onto his little family he realized he couldn't, he hadn't with Harry, and he wouldn't with Tiberius.
"You did so well, I'm proud of you," Severus murmured quietly and privately into her ear, she was exhausted after that long labour.
"I love you," Serena said, her voice hoarse but blessedly coherent and determined.
"And I love you," Severus murmured, pressing a kiss to her cheek as he closed his eyes, he was the luckiest bastard alive. "And to think it all started with a Vow," he added wistfully, if he hadn't seen Harry that day…he knew, he knew his life would not be this fulfilled. He'd still be a professor at Hogwarts, stuck in a job he detested with Dumbledore still running his life. The thought horrified him.
"To vows and their consequences," Serena whispered, she knew everything, Severus kept nothing from her, including the love he'd once held for Lily Potter.
"Hardly any consequences," Severus replied wryly. Good things weren't consequences but it had led up to them.
"To the vow and its consequences," he murmured to himself over an hour later, curled up around his wife and son, having sent off the letters to those he cared to know that he was now a father. Lucius and Narcissa, Minerva and surprisingly Sirius and Remus.
The End! :) Finally after years I managed to get this story complete...wonder if I should try to complete my twilight stories as well...hmmm guess we'll see :) I Hope you all enjoyed it and answered the majority of the questions you might have had throughout the story. Thanks for sticking it out with me. R&R please