Disclaimer: Neither Acherona nor Trulywicked have any claim on Harry Potter or any characters or locations thereof.
Warnings: Angst, lots of it, Male Pregnancy, mental torture, infant in peril, boys in love, friendships broken and new friends gained. Disregards canon in so many ways.
AN: Here we are, at the end of the road of this story. Thank you so, so much to all of you for reading, commenting and showing your support for this fic, we appreciate it very much. Thank you so much for everything.
Severus stood watching, a bit like a silent sentinel, as Teddy and Victoire scrambled over the dunes. Several meters behind him he could hear the chatter and occasional laugh as the Weasleys, Malfoys, Lovegoods, Grangers, Pansy, Longbottoms, and Andromeda Tonks worked together to get the lunch for the day set up on the tables. A burbling baby's laugh followed by Narcissa's familiar thrilled laughter had his lips twitching a bit in amusement. It had been six months since Ron Weasley's death and though the events of that day still marked them all, they'd all healed as well and grown closer as family. Since Lucius had become almost rabidly overprotective, something Severus remembered well from Narcissa's pregnancy with Draco, his wife had taken over looking after Jason while the others worked.
He himself was doing what he preferred during these odd little get togethers and looking after the only children old enough to scramble over dunes and chase after shells. It was a bit chilly as it was early spring but warming charms were applied to the eating area and he rather liked the bite of the wind.
Remus walked up to his mate, his feet sinking down in the fine sand as he wrapped his arms around Severus. All the open space of the beach and the sea freaked his wolf out a little, there was no place to take cover. It was a nice place to visit but Remus would never be able to live in such an open surrounding. "Everything's okay? Kiddies behaving themselves without running you ragged?"
"They never run me ragged. I should think I can keep up with two three and a half year olds with little difficulty." He caught sight of Teddy bending over a clear glistening lump and reaching out to touch it and raised his voice just enough for the boy to hear him, "Stop!" When Teddy turned towards him with a pout he lifted his brows and shook his head once, "Shells only unless you want to go inside and stay there until dinner."
He had to chuckle at the mighty whine and pout that got before Teddy turned away from the beached jellyfish and went to rejoin Victoire in hunting for shells.
"No need to brag love." Remus said as he squeezed his arms around Severus in appreciation that his mate had told Teddy to leave the jellyfish alone. He may not always like it but Teddy had great respect for Severus and he almost always listened to his Papa. "I believe myself to be in decent shape but I'll admit that they can tire me out, especially my ears. Victoire never stops talking and asking questions, have you noticed that?"
"Of course. She pauses when you're answering however and will accept an 'I don't know' with only minimal pouting. It's quite usual for most children, especially girls." He looked over his shoulder at his mate, "You'll learn."
Remus grimaced behind Severus' back before smiling and kissing his neck. His mate was superior and haughty at times but that was just one more thing he loved about him. "I don't doubt it, not when I have you to teach me."
Severus smiled and watched Teddy excitedly show Victoire some amazing shell, or possibly sea glass from the green glint, he'd found. His voice went soft and almost secretive, a sound and tone only for Remus, "I won't be the only one teaching you."
Honey colored eyes widened almost comically and Remus shifted so he was facing Severus, his hands dropping to cover his mate's flat, almost skinny stomach. "You mean?"
One long, elegant hand, tips a bit stained with potion ingredients, moved to rest over one Remus'. "Yes. In approximately thirty four weeks Teddy will have a baby sister." His eyes glimmered in amusement, "Apparently we forgot the contraceptive charm in the Shrieking Shack." That had been a heated morning after the full moon and it was still an arousing memory.
Remus grinned so wide his face was close to cracking in half and he felt an insane and overwhelming urge to tilt his head up and howl his joy to the heavens. He wasn't sure his mate would appreciate to have such attention drawn to them though so instead he cupped Severus' face tenderly and kissed him with all his might. When he finally pulled away his eyes were glistening with unshed tears. "This is the most brilliant news I've ever heard. A little girl...Oh I love you, my bristly, brilliant and wonderful mate."
"Flea-bitten idiot," Severus tilted his head and deepened the kiss even as he snapped his fingers and pointed disapprovingly at Teddy, who'd begin creeping back towards the jellyfish.
Over where he and Harry were reinforcing the tent, Draco chuckled and shook his head, "And I thought werewolf senses were supposed to be strong even outside of a full moon. He had to be told."
"I think that had it been anyone but Snape then Remus would have known even before the person in question. Snape has always jumbled Remus' mind. I think it's cute, just look at how happy he is." Harry smiled and guided his wand with lazy flicks to reinforce the tent.
Draco snorted, "For Morgana's sake even Blaise, besotted and thick as he is, theorized why my godfather has been so...mellow lately. It's actually somewhat frightening seeing him so calm and...not snarking."
"That's...True, a mellow Snape just feels wrong somehow." Harry agreed with a soft chuckle. "Still at least now he knows and all is well. I can't wait until he starts to waddle."
Silver eyes gave Harry a flat look, "Don't even chuckle when that happens as I want to keep you around a very long time Mr. Potter-Malfoy."
"I'll try to contain myself and keep my chuckles on my inside since I want to be around you for a very long time Mr. Potter-Malfoy." Harry grinned and leaned in to kiss his husband. "Come on though...Admit it will be funny."
"Of course it will, and pensieve memories will forever show that but I'm not risking a hex by admitting it outloud in any way around Uncle Severus." He took Harry's hand in his, the bonding cuffs they wore gleaming in the sunlight. "Maman has something to say to us all after dinner, just before it's time to go home, but I wanted to give you a bit of fair warning." He brought Harry close to murmur so no one, not even Bill could hear him, "There's a spot in Diagon Alley, it's been covered and concealed for the last three months, Maman bought it not long ago and commissioned a statue fountain of Ronald, so he won't be forgotten nor badly remembered."
"That's very kind of her." Harry sobered, the topic of Ron was still a little sensitive to him but he had more good memories than bad of his lost friend when he thought about him these days and Harry figured that that was progress. "Arthur and Molly, along with the rest of the family will appreciate it very much. Ron deserves to be remembered and in a good way."
Draco ran his fingers over the shell of Harry's ear, "Maman I think did it mostly for Molly. She understands being a mother and somewhat of how Molly feels with the loss. It's a gift to everyone he was close to but most especially from one mother to another."
"It's a very thoughtful and lovely gift and Molly will understand." Harry lowered his wand and wrapped his arms around Draco. "It will be nice for Molly to have somewhere to go and remember Ron, somewhere else than a grave I mean, somewhere lighter to really remember who he was, alive, loud and kind."
"For all his family and friends," Draco kissed Harry's brow, "when they're ready." He swayed with Harry, tugging him into a surprise dance, "Things are good. My father can even spend three minutes in Arthur's company without scowling."
Harry swayed along with his husband, pulling him as close as he could. He thought about their large rag tag family, that they were happy in the great scheme of things. "Oh yes Draco, things are good."
Narcissa watched her son and his husband dance while Jason burbled and babbled in her lap, occasionally poking curiously at her belly as if trying to figure out why it was so hard as opposed to Molly's erm...full figure. She kissed the top of the dark red head and rocked from side to side in contentment. Her son was happy, she'd have a daughter to spoil rotten in a few months, and her own husband was softening and allowing himself to act naturally around those who were becoming more and more like family. Her gaze found Molly, who was scolding one of the twins for snatching a biscuit and she hoped her surprise would be taken well. She didn't want to cause more pain but offer some better comfort than a cold graveside.
It was amazing really, the ability to heal and move forward with life. Six months ago Molly thought she would never stop crying, that the bleeding oozing wound inside her would never stop hurting. The wound was still there and it was still hurting but it had scabbed over. She could laugh again and she could actually go whole days now without feeling that suctioning, overpowering sense of loss. Ron was gone, there would always be a hollow place in her soul due to that but she could laugh again, could see the joy and worth of life. Her other babies were alive and doing well for themselves. She had two amazing grandchildren, three if she counted Teddy and she did and she hoped to have more soon. She smiled at Narcissa who sat with Jason and hit George over his knuckles with a spoon as he made another go at the biscuits. She had a wonderful family and good friends, both old and new and she really felt that life was worth living, that's what Ron would have wanted too, he never did like being still or sad.
Hermione laughed, leaning her head on Luna's shoulder, Cygnus whistling in her ear, as the evening drew to a close. Snape had announced his condition half-way through the dinner and Fred had ended up with a roll beaning him in the forehead after praying outloud that Snape's daughter wouldn't inherit her mother's nose. Other than that it had all been good food, good fun, and good company. It was still odd and held a painful ache, like prodding a bad tooth with your tongue, that Ron wasn't there in body but there was just something, some feeling she'd have discounted before falling in love with Luna, that told her he was there in spirit, making faces at Jason to make him smile, sending a rogue bit of wind to ruffle someone's hair, just...feelings.
Harry smiled at Hermione, thankful that his friend had found love. Luna and Hermione were good for each other, they balanced each other out. Much like he and Draco did. When he'd been in the midst of war he could never have imagined this in his wildest dreams. He was married to a man he loved more than anything, he had a child who grew with every day and family and friends he could always count on. He was so thankful for his life and he knew that Ron would have been happy for him, teasing him mercilessly but happy all the same. Harry hid a smile as Jason managed to fling a spoonful of mushed peas at Lucius elegant robes. His father in law only raised a silvery eyebrow and wiped at the expensive silk with his napkin. Oh yes, Harry was happy. Even with everything that had happened it felt like he'd had his happy ending and the best part of all was that it was only the beginning.