Whole Wide World, Wreckless Eric
Seven years later
"No I want the pink one!"
"But look at this nice dark green one, Kresley. Wouldn't that be okay?" Severus tried to reason with his three year old daughter.
"NO! I want the pink one!" She pulled at the fluffy pink coat on the rack and stomped her little foot. When Severus still only looked down at her with his eyebrow cocked, She tried a different tactic. Her lips twitched down, big brown eyes filling with tears. "Please, daddy?"
Severus sighed. How the hell was he supposed to say no to that?! His daughter looked so much like her mother that denying her anything was nearly impossible. If the little chit wanted the fluffy pink monstrosity, she would get it. And of course he would have to carry her the rest of the day looking like he was holding a big pink marshmallow. He shuddered. Why oh why couldn't he have had another son?
Because then you'd be denied the pleasure of learning how you look with a little pink accessory, Hermione whispered in his mind.
Oh shut up, he thought back in amused annoyance. It's a good thing I love you all so damn much or there's no way in hell I'd do this.
It is a good thing. We love you, too. He could feel the light kiss she brushed across his forehead and could hear the smile in her words.
"Fine," he growled. Other children that were in earshot looked at him in fear and then scattered. But Kresley smiled a big toothy smile and hugged her daddy's leg. Severus couldn't help smiling down at the little girl. She looked up at him and giggled.
"Ride! Ride! Ride!" Her singsong chant was so happy that he had to roll his eyes. Then Severus Snape walked up to the purchasing counter carrying a fluffy pink coat and with a three year old brunette clinging to his leg like a sack of potatoes. At the back of the store with his mother was a third year boy in Severus' potions class. The boy gaped at the sight. Severus glared at him so darkly that the boy took an unintentional step closer to his mother and looked away.
"Stop glaring at students," Hermione chided behind him. Severus turned with a smile. She was holding three bags in one hand and had their five year old son's hand in her other.
"As it is summer, they are not my students at the moment," he drawled back at his wife. She pursed her lips and glared at him with mock ferocity.
"Severus Snape you be nice. Otherwise I won't show you what I've got in my bag here..." She winked and jiggled a bag that looked suspiciously nondescript. Had she taken a detour while their son was having lunch with his friends? Would whatever was in the bag be lacy? Silky?
"Fine," he drawled, feigning indifference. "No more scaring students." He flashed her a smile and then took the coat back from the saleswoman.
"No bag, no bag!" Kresley chanted happily. "I wanna wear it!" When Severus obligingly took the coat out of the bag she squealed in delight. Then she stuffed her little arms into it while Severus helped her pull it on. She looked adorable in it, like a little cream puff. But...pink. Why oh why did she have to love pink?
"Why don't we trade children? That one seems much more suited to my current color scheme." At Severus' drawled words Wulfric nodded seriously. The boy was dressed in dark green and black, much like his father. Hermione laughed and held out her arms for her daughter. Kresley ran to her mother and Hermione scooped her up and settled the girl on her hip. Free of anything pink, Severus let out a relieved sigh. He held out his hand to Wulfric, who took it without a word. "Remind me again why I had to take the pixie shopping for a new coat?"
"You know exactly why, Severus. Next time Wulf has lunch with James and Albus and Hugo, you are more than welcome to go along and chat with Harry and Ron while the kids eat," she added sweetly. Severus shuddered.
"No, I think I shall take pink marshmallow treatment over that."
"I thought so," Hermione said with a smile. Then she turned to her son. "Wulf, you've been walking all day. I'm sure you're tired. Why don't you ask daddy to give you a shoulder ride?" Wulfric looked up at his dad with his eyes wide.
"Cuz shoulder rides are for sissies, right daddy?" The little boy's tone was grave. It pulled at Severus' heart. His son was far too serious. He was so much like Severus himself at that age. But Severus was determined that his son have a better childhood than he himself had lived. He knelt in front of the boy.
"No, Wulfric. Shoulder rides aren't for sissies." He chucked his son under the chin and was rewarded with a small grin.
"Ok then. Shoulder ride!" Wulfric put his arms up and Severus scooped him up around the middle. He took a step towards the door as if he didn't notice his son hanging like a sack under his arm.
"Alright then, off we go."
"No, daddy! Shoulder ride!" The little boy was giggling in between squeals of delight. Severus looked down as if he'd just noticed his son.
"Oh, you! That's right, you wanted a shoulder ride." He swung the laughing boy up and perched him on his shoulders. Wulf wrapped his little arms around Severus' head to hold on. Severus tipped his head to glance up at his son and smiled.
As they walked out of the store, Harry and Ginny walked in with their children. Wulfric waved down at little Albus.
"Harry," Severus said slowly with a nod in the other man's direction. There had been a distinct shift between them after Hermione had been rescued years before. Harry had known, through the Pensieve, that Severus had been working for over a decade to protect him and his friends. After that he respected his ex professor and even admired him. But when Severus brought back Hermione and married her six months later, Harry dropped any pretense of formality with him.
Much to Severus' astonishment, he even passed the name of Severus onto one of his own children. The little boy who was staring up at him somewhat fearfully, Albus Severus. How was he supposed to react to that? He'd never considered that he might be someone's namesake, let alone the grandson of James Potter. Lily's grandson. It was funny how things worked themselves out. Maybe this was how it was supposed to have been. Severus knew that Ginny was pregnant again, with a girl they intended to name Lily Luna. And Albus Severus would be her big brother. Fate was giving a second chance to a Severus. To be what he should have been from the beginning. A brother to Lily.
"Severus," Harry greeted him back with a smile. "Here Wulf, you left your toy broomstick at the ice cream shop." He pulled a toy broomstick from inside his cloak and held it up to the boy. Severus looked at it disdainfully, one eyebrow cocked.
"Toy broomstick?" he drawled quietly. Wulfric looked down at his father quickly, and then emulated the look on his face perfectly. He raised a dark brow at Harry and narrowed his green eyes.
"Toy broomstick?" he repeated in a little boy version of Severus' quiet baritone. Harry looked confused for a moment, looking from father to son with comically mirror expressions. He was torn between the desire to laugh out loud and to take a step back from them.
"Er, maybe it was Hugo's. I'll just give it to Ron when I see him." He went to put the little broom under his cloak again and Wulfric made a sound of distress.
"Wait!" He finally broke from his father's demeanor and reached his hands out towards the broomstick. "It is mine. Don't give it to Ron. Hugo's already got one." The little boy took the broomstick and Severus looked up at his son while he clutched the broom and Severus' head at the same time. "I wanted to play quidditch with Hugo and James and Albus," he whispered to his father. "I know we don't like quidditch, daddy, but it looked fun, just to play for a little..."
Severus lifted the boy from his shoulders and cradled him in his arms. He looked into his son's eyes and spoke.
"Wulfric, you can enjoy quidditch if you wish."
"I have no problem with having a son who plays quidditch. Just as long as when you're in school you never let this lot beat you in a game." He gestured down to Harry's boys. Wulf's face scrunched up.
"What if I get put in Gryffindor with them?" His tone was so distressed that Severus almost laughed. Of course there would be no question that Harry Potter's children would be in Gryffindor. But Wulfric? Was it possible that he would end up in Gryffindor too? Severus thought back to what Albus had once told him about his own house placement. His son was certainly brave enough for it...
"If you do, then just make sure you play better than they do. But don't worry, you're much too smart to end up in Gryffindor." He laughed softly at the puzzled look on his son's face. "No, Wulf, you would be just fine in Gryffindor if that is where you end up." Though Severus would probably pull the brim right off of the damn sorting hat if it put his son in with that lot.
"We can still be friends if I'm in Gryffindor, right daddy?" Wulf whispered to his father.
"Of course Gryffindors and Slytherins can be friends. Your mommy was a Gryffindor." Severus looked up when Hermione elbowed him. She jerked her head at Harry. Severus sighed, hardly able to believe what he was about to say. "And...and Harry and I are ..." He couldn't believe what he was about to say. He tried to hide his grimace. "Are friends, and he was a Gryffindor as well."
Harry blinked at Severus and slowly smiled. Severus glared at the other man. As he walked by, he said in a low voice, "Don't let it go to your head, Potter."
"Wouldn't dream of it, Professor," Harry said back with a laugh.
That night, Severus finished reading a the story of Babbitty Rabbitty to his son and daughter and tucked them into bed. He still could not help but sneer the name Babbitty Rabbitty every time he spoke it, which was probably the reason his children asked him to read it so often. They enjoyed the way his voice dripped disdain when the charlatans proclaimed Babbitty had turned into the crab apple tree. He would mutter under his breath, 'really, what idiot would think the rabbit had turned into an apple tree?' which always caused Wulfric and Kresley to fall into peals of laughter.
Once they were fast asleep, he kissed their foreheads and looked down at them, watching them sleep. When he'd thought about children before, it had been in an abstract, like "my children will never behave so ridiculously," or "my children shall posses more intellect than that, surely." He could never picture faces in his mind, could have never imagined the feel of a child's hug. But having them here, seeing them, was something that took his breath away.
He knew he wasn't ideal for fatherhood. He'd meant what he'd said to Hermione all those years ago. He was snide and short tempered. But with them...it was like they were inside a secret chamber in his heart that could not be touched by his usual disdain. Things that other children did that would make him sneer, he only smiled indulgently at when his own children did. He'd thought he would have no patience for crude drawings of rainbows or stick figure families. But when his children drew them they were treasured, displayed proudly on his desk.
"Babbitty Rabbitty again?" Hermione asked from behind him as she slid her arms around his waist and kissed his shoulder. He turned in her arms and gave a disgusted sigh.
"Of course." He sounded thoroughly fed up with it, but she knew he would read it to them as many times as they asked. She giggled. "Something funny, Mrs. Snape?" He arched a brow.
"That's Professor Snape, to you," she retorted sternly.
"Ah but I prefer another title for you, my Lady Felicis." He tipped her chin up and kissed her softly. She smiled against his lips and pulled back.
"You know, I don't think I've ever heard you read the Warlock's Hairy Heart to them," she mused.
"Nor will I ever," he said abruptly. Hermione looked at him curiously. She didn't ask, just waited for him to explain. "It...it reminds me too much of myself."
"You hardly have a hairy heart," she pointed out.
"Hermione, I hid my heart away in a box for years. And then there was you...and my heart could just as easily have gone savage like in the story. I could have been the death of you. Even if just in spirit. I would rather have cut my heart from my chest than destroyed yours."
"There is nothing savage about you, Severus." She paused when he raised his brow again. "Well, except in ways we both thoroughly enjoy. You aren't like the warlock, Sev. You're heart is just the same as it's always been. But I don't mind you skipping that story. It has such a sad ending. Children need happy endings, I think."
"Life isn't full of happy endings, Hermione, no matter how much we wish it otherwise."
"In another world, you might have died the night Nagini bit you. In another world I might have ended up married to Ron!" She laughed at the repulsed look on his face. "But that's not this world. We got a happy ending, Severus. And so will they."
"Knowing my luck, Kresley will end up married to James." His lip curled in disdain.
"And if she does, and he makes her happy, you will be happy for her."
"If I must," he sniffed. Hermione laughed quietly.
"You must." She patted his chest. "Take me to bed, Severus." He didn't just take her hand and lead her to their bedroom. He swept down and slung her over his shoulder. She screeched in laughter and slapped a hand over her mouth. She glanced at the children, who had slept through her outburst. She squirmed and laughed and Severus' hand came down hard on her backside and he growled over his shoulder at her as he strode towards their room.
"Don't make me come back there." Then he put her on the bed. Hermione was up in an instant, pushing him down and straddling him.
"Oh, you'll pay for that, Professor." She pulled her shirt off over her head and tossed it onto the floor. He sat up, wrapping his arm around her back and pulling her close to him.
"I prefer Husband, if you don't mind."
"Oh, I don't mind at all." She smiled and kissed him.
An hour later as they lay in each other's arms slowly drifting off to sleep, Hermione rolled closer to him and traced the line of his cheekbone, his eyebrow, his lips.
"You cannot possibly want more," he said sleepily.
"With you, I always want more," she replied. He opened his eyes and a gentle smile curved his lips. "But that's not what I was thinking about just now."
"Do you remember when we first talked about having children?"
"Yes," he said slowly. His brow furrowed as he wondered where she was going with this.
"And you remember that I said I wanted seven?"
"And I said two."
"But then we settled on four."
"No, then I said we should start with one and go from there." What was she getting at?
"Well what would you think of...three?" Her teeth caught her bottom lip and she searched his eyes.
"Hermione...are you telling me what I think you are telling me?" His voice was low and disbelieving. Wide eyed, she nodded. A slow smile crept over Severus' face. It widened until he was beaming at her. "Really? You're sure?" She nodded again. "What is it?" he asked excitedly, like a little kid at Christmas.
"I'm not sure yet. Its too early to tell." She breathed a little sigh of relief. She knew he wouldn't be angry...but she was so pleased that he was reacting this happily.
"Could you just try and make it a boy then?"
Hermione laughed. "It's not up to me. The man determines the sex of the baby, you know that." Severus glanced down at his own anatomy and grimaced. Instead, he turned and addressed himself to her stomach.
"You in there. Think masculine thoughts." He sounded so stern that she laughed again.
"And what exactly, would be the problem with having another little girl?" She put her arms around him as he moved back up the bed and settled in next to her. "I think you handle the pink situation rather well."
"Oh the pink I can handle," he drawled. "It's the thought of possibly having two daughters married to Potters that will keep me up all night!"