A/N: There are only two chapters left after this one: a regular chapter and the epilogue. Next up is Black Fortunes. The only reason for this huge delay is the fact that I am back to work and it took some time to decide on the name you will find in this chapter :D
18th July, Malfoy Manor-
Hadrian sat outside one of the private suites in Malfoy Manor, an excited smile on his lips. Inside the currently silenced room his beloved uncle (and godfather still) Sirius was currently in labor with his first child. It was the middle of July and the newest member of their large family and the Dark sect had chosen a quiet, warm evening for their arrival. All that was known was the fact that Sirius was having a baby girl, something that seemed to excite both of the men more than anything else, much to some other's amusement.
Hadrian himself was almost four months with his own first child, he and Rabastan had decided against finding out the gender. This little one was loved from the moment of conception, it didn't matter to either one of them if it was male or female as long as it was healthy. Rabastan was becoming something of a hoverer, which had Harry caught between amusement and annoyance depending on his mood and his hormones. The Dark Lord had even cautiously reminded Rabastan that the Roses knew just as many painful hexes as the Death Eaters, some even were capable of extensive wandless magic.
Sitting closest to Hadrian other than Rabastan was his bearer, James. The older male was finally beginning to look healthy, something that relieved everyone in their close-knit group of family and friends. While Hadrian believed that he had been cleared for almost all activity, he generally steered away from thinking about his fathers in a romantic sense. He loved his parents and was truly delighted that they were alive, but he didn't want to know or imagine those particular details.
Instead he turned his mind to the little Lady Snape about to make her entrance. She was already much loved by her parents and her large family looked forward to her arrival. She would not inherit a title, but she would still be precious in their society. Those females and males marked as one of the Dark Roses would always be treasured by their families and partners. There was not a chance of another Bellatrix, Cygnus and Druella had not taken the precautions necessary during the pureblood woman's pregnancy and their daughter had suffered, barren from birth.
Their Lord had already said that he would continue to mark the Death Eaters and Dark Roses of each new generation, continuing the family lines of those that had supported his trials and fight to reach the pinnacle of wizarding society, therefore saving it from itself. Purebloods had been falling steadily into decline before the Dark Lord had taken over and steered them away from the inbreeding that had been producing more and more squibs with each new generation born, if one was even born.
In return he had formally begun to re-establish the patriarchal society that had benefited the wizarding world for many generations. Just because Muggles had mostly done away with this method didn't mean that it fit wizarding culture as well. He had also begun to encourage the goblins to inquire into acceptable pureblood heirs for vaults that had been sitting and gathering dust for years. This was a major plus to the goblins as well, a new Lord for a defunct family meant more money being spent and invested.
The patriarchal society affected the new daughter of Severus Snape and Sirius Black the most. As Sirius was one of the Roses he was not eligible for the seat of Lord Black, despite being eldest-born. Thus, neither would his daughter be eligible. She would be a credit to House Black no doubt, but she nor her children could hold the title of Black unless the current Lord, Regulus, didn't have at least one dominant-marked son with James. Sirius himself would have to bear at least one son, or the young man that was betrothed to their new daughter would gain the title. Though Severus was a Snape by name, it was Muggle, so his actual title was Lord Prince, a pureblood family name of some status.
Likewise, though Hadrian was both a son of a Black and Potter, he was out of the running since he was a Rose. He carried two formidable bloodlines in his veins but that was about it. His eldest son would be Heir Lestrange and only if Regulus and James didn't have at least two more sons would one of his children be named Heir Potter, though the boy had to be marked a Death Eater himself to qualify.
It was a sound system, one that established a clear pecking order and still gave value to the Roses. Not only were they daughters and sons of formidable bloodlines themselves, they contributed to the future of their Lord's bloodline with every magical child born. Even squibs would have a purpose in the Dark Lord's future as they still carried magic in their blood but were simply unable to use it. A squib may protest their highly-controlled future and marriages sometime in the future, but what was a squib's opinion anyway? It was better than being tossed out in the cold or deliberately killed by family members so that they wouldn't have the 'shame' in their homes.
Hadrian turned his attention back to the doorway to his uncle's quarters when he spotted Narcissa, who had been acting as nurse for the past few hours. She was smiling, a shimmer of happy tears in her blue eyes. When she realised she had their focused attention she stated, "Sirius was delivered safely of an absolutely gorgeous baby girl not an hour ago. It will probably be another half-hour at least of bonding time with her parents before you will be allowed in."
Hadrian beamed at his second cousin and fellow Rose, who smiled in return before making her way out of the room, no doubt to find Lucius and Draco, who had been discussing Malfoy finances in Lucius' office for the past couple hours.
He listened quietly to the chatter of his family and friends as they discussed what Narcissa had told them, not really a lot but just enough to spike their curiosity. Remus in particular looked equal parts nervous and excited, no doubt he was pondering on the fact that he and Sirius were the same age and he'd be in the same position approximately four months from now. He and Gareth had not been able to hold back their desire to know and had found out they were expecting their first son. The proud elegant man who had pulled off a feral werewolf for more than 20 years was still prone to a random ecstatic smile at times.
When Narcissa returned she not only had Lucius and Draco in tow, but Bill and the Dark Lord himself as well. Apparently their Lord had flooed over to speak with Lucius and had enquired about the current gathering a couple floors above. Their Lord was able to sense magic far more strongly than the average wizard and had no doubt been able to 'see' after a sort a dense group of magic from their direction.
Narcissa had very good timing as only a few moments after she and her companions showed up the door was opened by the very friendly and yet sharply competent presence of Healer Grace Clearwater, second cousin to Penelope Clearwater, Percy Weasley's old Ravenclaw crush. Grace had very sharp features, long black hair and piercing dark blue eyes, though shockingly a very gentle and warm manner. She was a formidable woman and able to force even Severus at his snarkiest to do as she ordered.
"You may come in now," she said simply, a slight smile gracing her thin but expressive mouth.
The others shooed in the two pregnant Roses first and so it happened that Hadrian was given the first look at Severus, his uncle and his brand-new cousin. The sight that greeted him turned up his lips in a warm, full smile. The single bed in the birthing room had been widened enough to hold two people and Severus sat on it, bracing up a clearly exhausted but very happy Sirius. Sirius lay back against his partner's chest, smiling as he caressed the small bundle in a bright purple blanket with pink trim. His arms shook slightly, but Severus had easily wrapped one arm around his Consort's waist to help him steadily hold their daughter.
Sirius looked up at Hadrian and smiled. The image made Hadrian's breath catch slightly in his throat and he heard a similar noise from Remus. Despite being clearly exhausted and on a strong pain potion the joy in his uncle's face was such as he had never seen before. This was the man who had been stuck behind the frustrated, world-weary visage of a year ago and Hadrian wouldn't have been able to believe the difference a steady, loving presence and a new child could make.
He cautiously made his way to their side, accompanied by Rabastan. Sirius gave a weary chuckle and said, "Don't look so nervous, nephew mine. Neither your new cousin nor I am going to break, no matter what we may look like at the moment."
Hadrian flushed slightly and sat down just on the edge of the bed. When he caught sight of his new little cousin his breath caught. She was so beautiful. She possessed all of the Black features aside from her father's long fingers, pale skin and sharply arched eyebrows. Her tiny mouth was a very pale petal pink and she had very long eyelashes as well as a generous helping of silky black hair for a newborn.
"Would you like to hold her?" Sirius asked him with a tired smile.
"I may as well get used to it, shouldn't I?" Hadrian answered wryly, indicating his own belly. Since he had been active with Quidditch and his own physical shape for most of his life, Hadrian had begun to show relatively fast, at the moment possessing a small but definite curve to his lower waistline.
His words earned a slight laugh and then a small grimace from Sirius, who indicated to Severus. The new father deftly but gently took his daughter's full weight and transferred her easily to a pleased but nervous Hadrian's arms.
He stared at the bundle in his arms in awe and slight nerves. He had never held a baby before, much less a newborn and despite Sirius' earlier words, she looked very fragile wrapped up in a thick cotton blanket. She was heavier than he would have guessed and longer as well, settling in his arms from one elbow to the other. He gradually relaxed as she lay quiet and sleeping in his arms, her warmth was welcome. Rabastan was watching her with the same kind of anxious awe that Hadrian himself was.
After what seemed like too long and not long enough at the same time, Regulus playfully said to his son, "All right, hand over my niece. Don't pout at me either, you'll have your own in 5 months."
Hadrian huffed at his father but reluctantly handed her over, smiling as he watched people reacting to her. The Dark Lord was amusing, it seemed that even after numerous marking ceremonies for new members of his Elite that the man was nervous around very small babies. He turned down holding her, instead watching her quietly over Gareth's shoulder and making appropriate comments.
Finally Harry's papa James didn't seem to be able to remain patient and said, "Well?"
"Well what?" Sirius replied coyly, holding back a smirk and a laugh at his friend's clear impatience.
"What is her name?" James finally clarified after a brief glaring contest with his smug friend.
"I wanted to honor her father Severus but Severus also wanted to continue the Black family tradition," Sirius pouted slightly at this, earning a chuckle from the group, all of whom knew how much Sirius detested the repetitiveness of the Black family tree.
"So what is the moniker you decided on, brother?" Regulus prompted.
Sirius and Severus exchanged a warm loving smile before Severus spoke up and said, "We have named our first-born, our precious daughter Tanith Medea Snape."
Narcissa blinked in surprise and spoke up, "That is actually quite beautiful and fits her very well."
"We thought so," Sirius replied softly.
"Her life will be blessed and peaceful, uncle. Tanith will grow up in time of prosperity, wealth and freedom," Hadrian assured.
"That," Sirius mused softly, with an air of wistful envy for his daughter, "was never in doubt."
Tanith (Near Eastern Mythology) Derived from Semitic roots meaning "serpent lady". This was the name of the Phoenician goddess of love, fertility, the moon and the stars. (The moon and stars link her to the Blacks, but she also honors Remus with the 'moon' part.)
Medea From the Greek Μηδεια (Medeia), possibly meaning either "to ponder" or "cunning". In Greek mythology Medea was a sorceress from Colchis (modern Georgia) who helped Jason gain the Golden Fleece. They were married, but eventually Jason left her for another woman. For revenge Medea slew Jason's new lover and also had her own children by Jason killed.