Disclaimer: Nothing you recognize is mine. It belongs to the most amazing JK Rowling or an awfully long list of people...(and what you do not recognize *is* mine, such as the MOSSes -Ministry Officers of State Security). If you like it, review and feed my soul. And since we don't need to hurt each other, if you don't like it, don't tell me ! Flamers will be adopted by my family (if you don't believe it's a threat... too bad for you !).
Starkindler edited this chapter, may she be praised and thanked!
The remaining mistakes are all mine, and I apologize for those.
Chapter Seventeen - Sarina and Harold Potter-Snape
The twins are holding hands, as if they were happy to be joined again.
Harry and Severus look at each other. Once more, Severus forgets the promise not to display his affection in public which he'd made to himself before his bonding with Harry and, holding their daughter tight, he leans to kiss Harry. The babies giggle and their fathers break their kiss.
'We're parents!' Severus says, as if to confirm the fact... as if Sarina and Harold in their arms were not proof enough.
Harry looks at the babies and declares, 'They're not as tiny as our godsons when they were born. They seem... well, not only bigger than when the Weasley quartet is born, but more active as well.'
'That's because they were born the first time you wished them, at Yule,' Albus says.
'You knew!' Severus shouts, which makes Harold cry loudly. Harry does his best to lull his son and Sarina, sensing tension, clings to her other father. At that moment, Harry and Severus are more than happy that they have accepted to be the godfathers of the four sons of Hermione, Ron and Charlie, because that provided them with some training with babies.
Albus comes near the new family and tell the parents, 'The morning after the Yule ball, I checked the names in the Hogwarts Book of Students - because the Book was on my desk and it usually does so when names have been added - and I saw Sarina and Harold's names. I knew that the only logical explanation was that your love was creating those children.'
'Then, why didn't you tell us? We could have prepared things for them,' Harry reproaches his old mentor.
'Because...' Albus sighs deeply: it's time to reveal things that only Minerva had known up to now. 'Because those who are known as "Stork children" are so rare and so magical that the parents have to make the same wish at the same time twice, and without their knowing it consciously. That's a fact you won't read about in books. So, you see, if you had not wished them another time - yesterday on your birthdays maybe - their names would have been erased from our world and they would have never been brought to you. And to answer your question, my dear Harry, they look different from new borns because they were magically "created" on Yule, even though they were delivered only today. It is customary for those children to have two birthdays, though some parents choose one of the two dates.'
'How come you know so much about that when I don't remember reading more than five lines about that topic in all the books I've read in my entire life?' Severus wonders.
Albus looks at Minerva, who smiles, and he says, 'I know because I'm a "Stork child" myself. My parents couldn't have children, but they wished me.'
Again, Harry looks at his bonded and he says, 'We really are parents...' as if he needs to say so aloud to be fully convinced that the twins are real.
'Are you all right?' Minerva asks both wizards.
'Yes,' Harry starts.
'It's just that usually parents have time to get accustomed with the idea of parenthood,' Severus goes on.
'But... we had started discussing that particular topic the day we opened our joint account at Gringotts. It's not totally alien,' Harry adds.
'And now that we are parents, we'll panic later,' both men end in unison.
Albus and Minerva smile.
'We have so many things to do!' Severus exclaims.
'We can help you with some of those things,' Minerva offers.
'Thank you very much! We're going to need cradles, clothes, toys... Everything... And we need to prepare a bedroom for them,' Harry enumerates.
'This is so extraordinary!' Câly whispers.
'Is this going to be too much for you?' Severus asks her.
She shakes her head and declares, 'It's certainly going to take more time to take care of two babies, but this time I won't have to fight the madness of your aunt and they have both their parents. Do not worry, I can help you to take care of Harold and Sarina.'
'By Salazar!' Severus almost shouts, catching himself when Sarina jumps in his arms, 'Câly! There's a cauldron of potion that must be burning by now. Could you go and do something?'
And out pops the elf. Severus turns towards Harry and says, 'I'm afraid I have ruined the gift I was preparing for you as a surprise. I'm sorry, Harry.'
'Never mind, Severus. You've given me something more magical.'
The four of them smile, oblivious of the two witnesses to their happiness.
'We have to take things in order,' Severus says.
'That means a bed for them - we can always create a nursery at home and in our quarters.' There Harry stops and turns, alarmed, towards Albus. 'There's nothing in the school rules that says that we cannot bring them back with us, right?'
'No, my dear child, you can bring your babies with you. It hasn't occurred in a very long time, but again, it's been a long time since there was a married couple in the Hogwarts staff,' the old wizard answers.
Harry takes a deep breath and smiles before going on, 'Then we need some change of clothes and diaper's powder and food... and some toys.'
'A minimum of everything before we can realize what's happening to us and we can react properly,' Severus adds.
'Or maybe we could help you?'
They all turn towards the voice and there stands Jules Ode, the priest with a Muggle job and - it seems - a werewolf boyfriend, since Remus Lupin is standing next to him, very, very close.
'Remus!' Harry greets his other godfather.
'Jules!' Severus calls his oldest friend.
The two newcomers are in awe in front of the twins and they slowly walk towards the bench where Severus and Harry are sitting.
'I... I felt it... We all felt it in the various Orders. But they are so... It's magic beyond words,' Jules says.
'It's called "Love",' Remus teases his boyfriend.
'We're going to need godparents!' Severus cries.
Harry looks at Albus and Minerva.
'We're too old,' she says.
Harry looks at Remus and Jules.
'They're family since Remus is your godfather and Jules is... with him, if I'm not mistaken,' Severus declares.
'And the Weasley trio and the four happy MOSSes can't be chosen either because we are godfathers of the two pairs of twins... Godparenthood rules are too tricky!' Harry complains.
He looks at Severus and he can see in the eyes of his lover that they've just had the same twisted idea.
'Hedwig!' Severus calls.
The owl flies into the garden as Câly comes back.
'I could save a third of the potion, Severus... And I thought you might want parchment, ink and a feather,' she announces as she shows what she brought back from the house.
'You let a potion burn?!' Jules practically shouts.
'Don't you think that I had another fish to fry the minute the stork brought me Sarina?' Severus rhetorically asks.
The priest chuckles.
'Sarina?' Remus whispers.
'Oh! Yes...' Severus and Harry stand up and walk towards their friends, 'Allow us to introduce you to Sarina and Harold Potter-Snape,' the parents say in perfect harmony.
'What are their other names?' Jules wonders.
'Sarina Alba Lily,' Severus says.
'And Harold Terence James,' Harry adds.
'They're going to be very powerful,' Jules announces.
'With parents like Severus and Harry and the heritage of their blood, how could it be otherwise?' Albus says.
'Who cares if they're powerful? What matters is that they're happy!' Harry proclaims.
Severus nears his mate and asks, 'Do you think you can hold both while I write a note to the future godparents of our children?'
'Of course I can!' Harry says, faking indignation.
'We could help you,' Jules offers.
'No... Not yet! You see... I... We...can feel magic being woven between us... I was wondering, Albus,' Harry goes on while Severus writes mere notes, 'if we were to analyze the blood of the babies - the Muggle way, I mean - what would we find?'
'That they are mixes of the two of you. That's the power of our magic,' Albus answers.
'It's fantastic...' Harry murmurs.
Severus catches Hedwig and ties the messages to her leg as he says, 'We need you to deliver the first message to Fred and George Weasley. They'll deliver the second themselves.'
The owl hoots happily and flies away. Severus walks to his bonded and takes Harold in his arms for the first time.
'Fred and George... That's two godparents... Who are the other two?' Remus wonders.
'Ginny and Draco Malfoy,' Harry announces.
Jules whistles and says, 'Good choice... Powerful association...'
Harry gives him a look that's usually the trademark of a certain Potions master and that reads "Oh, please, tell us something we do NOT know".
'I will definitely retire in eleven years. No offence gentlemen, but three pairs of twins that powerful within the walls of my classroom... No, thank you,' Minerva announces.
They all smile till the new parents both wince.
'What's wrong?' Albus asks, worried.
'Tell us, Albus... You are... er... what you confessed you are, but you had a father and a mother, am I right?' Severus says.
'Yes, why do you ask?' the old wizard wonders.
'Would you happen to have any piece of information on...' Harry stops, visibly embarrassed, and turns towards his companion who shrugs, because they need help and they will have to face the other miracle that they feel happening to them. Harry goes on, 'Would you happen to have any piece of information on the way Stork children have been fed when they had two male parents?'
Albus blinks, understands and then pales.
'Are you?...' he begins.
'I... think we are producing milk,' Severus declares, almost unable to believe he said that.
'My chest is tingling and it's as if I just knew that it means that the babies are hungry,' Harry adds, now blushing.
'Would you like me to check all the information my Order possesses?' Jules offers.
'Yes, please!' Severus and Harry exclaim at the same time.
Jules briefly caresses Remus's hand and Disapparates.
The two wizards wince again and the babies seem somewhat agitated.
'There's one way to test your theory,' Minerva intervenes.
This time both wizard blush, but they have to admit that this is the only logical approach. Besides, the sensation they both experience most certainly means that whoever gave them those children also gave them the gift to feed them.
'You could go back inside while we make a list of what the babies will need,' Remus suggests to preserve their privacy.
Severus and Harry nod and walk away with their babies.
'Do you think it's possible?' Câly asks.
'Yes, it is. The magic that produces Stork children is a kind of magic that has never been studied. It's so rare that there is practically no data, and I seriously doubt that even Jules will find many things to share with Severus and Harry. Usually, parents of Stork children tended to keep their lives extremely quiet and they refused to talk about their lives and the "additional" kind of magic that had been brought into their homes. Even my parents did not tell me everything about the time when I was but a child,' Albus explains.
Remus imitates a goldfish out of its bowl and squeaks, 'You!... You?...' while pointing an index towards Albus.
The old wizard grins and admits, 'Yes, my dear child, I am a Stork child. My mother and father never said much about the day I was brought to them and they never mentioned anything about the Power that had me delivered to their doorstep. My childhood seems to have been ordinary to my mind, but I do not have points of comparison...'
Jules Apparates back and says, 'Believe it or not, I've found nothing. We are totally at sea on the topic. The only thing we know for sure is that a Stork child is rare and powerful and made of love. I think it might even be the first time that twins have been delivered... Where are Severus and Harry?'
'Inside. Testing their theory,' Remus announces.
Jules blinks and murmurs, 'Is that possible?'
'We're going to be told soon.' Minerva states.
Severus and Harry have taken the babies to their favourite room: the kitchen.
'I don't know about you, but my chest and nipples really do tingle,' Harry complains.
'That has to be the logical explanation, but I'm not sure I like that at all... Even for the sake of our children!'
Harry caresses the arm of his lover with his free hand, then he starts to unbutton his shirt and Severus imitates him.
When Severus touches his right nipple with the hand that's not holding Harold against him, he hisses. Their son places a hand on Severus's chest and a very pleasant warmth spreads throughout the Potions master. Both fathers guide the babies towards a nipple and they start sucking.
Then, the magical link with the children is fully activated.
They quietly sit down and feed their children.
'The next time I complain about any magic linked to either of them, tell me to shut up, will you, Darling?' Severus says.
'Yes, Love,' Harry whispers. Feeding Sarina is obviously overwhelming him.
They hear the Floo network being activated in the parlour, but they do not move for they know that Albus's fireplace is spelled to allow in only people he knows and likes.
Finally they can hear the voices of the Weasley trio and of Hermione's MOSSes: Christian Anthony, George Pierre, Ethan Bell and James Rettin.
Ron and Charlie are the first to walk into the kitchen and what they see makes them freeze. The five persons who were in tow bump into them.
Harry looks at his friend Ron while Sarina goes on sucking. Ron slowly walks towards his friend and crouches before him.
A single tear rolls down his cheek and Ron says one word, 'Magic.'
Harry smiles and looks at Severus. They should feel ill at ease with this situation, but it's a beautiful moment and they know that it's only the beginning of something even more magical.
'Come and meet our children... We won't bite you,' Severus jokes, and they all come near.
Albus's wards had told him he had visitors so he, Minerva, Jules, Remus and Câly come in the house as well.
'The news is all over,' Hermione announces. 'We thought you might need help with some basical emergency shopping.'
'Thank you,' says Harry. 'We will need help.'
Remus walks slowly to his godson and asks in a murmur, 'How does it feel?'
'Being a parent or being able to feed them?' Harry wonders.
'Both, I guess,' Remus says.
To everybody's surprise, it's Severus who answers, 'It feels like the proof of our love being given to the world. It's magic beyond the magic we use every day. It's like sunshine and happiness flowing in my blood... Feeding them is... The idea disturbed me when we... felt it, but it's extremely pleasant; it's as if we were communicating...'
'You are.' That's Hermione who's speaking. They all turn to her and she adds, 'Well, that's how I feel when I feed our sons... It's like a form of language that has no words and no rules; a language that conveys love...'
They're all silent and then Harold and Sarina signal that their first meal is over by giggling. Instinctively their fathers pat their backs.
'Oh! We have more visitors!' Albus announces.
Severus and Harry are re-buttoning their shirts when Fred, George, Draco and Ginny jog inside the overcrowded kitchen.
'You owe me a Galleon!' Draco tells his wife.
They let the four new comers walk near the parents and Ginny says, 'I really thought it was a joke you and my brothers had planned...'
'Sorry to make you lose money, Ginny!' Harry says with a grin and twinkling eyes.
Caressing Sarina's cheek, Mrs Malfoy declares, 'I'd give many more Galleons for your happiness! Do you... Do you really want us four to be the godparents of your children?'
'Yes, Ginny; you're a perfect choice,' Severus tells her.
'We're starting to be one big family, with our alliances and connections,' Harry states.
Albus and Minerva look at each other. Those young witches and wizards have all been their charges and they care for them, but they have no connection beside that.
'Oh... We didn't tell you?' Harry tells the old couple.
'How could we forget that?' Severus says mock-innocently.
'We thought you would be absolutely perfect as grandparents by proxy,' both wizards announce.
Minerva puts one hand on her mouth, while Albus tenderly holds her - something he seldom does with witnesses around.
'We are a family, even if our relationships have different implications,' Harry adds.
'Don't you think it's time for a presentation?' Jules suggests with a grin.
'Where do you want to do it?' Fred asks.
Harry looks at Severus: they haven't planned that far, but Harry reflects that Jules's smile doesn't look that innocent and he asks, 'What do you have in mind, Jules?'
Draco puts two and two together and chuckles before he says, 'Remember the few Howlers when you announced that you were involved? Announcing children, even Stork children, is going to cause some... comments. Yet... If we all go to... let's say Diagon Alley and present the twins to our community... I think we all would quiet people down...'
'There's nothing like a good Slytherin,' Jules purrs.
They all grin and get ready to Apparate into London.
Albus, Minerva, Jules, Remus, the four MOSSes and the Weasley trio are the first to Apparate into Diagon Alley. Then the four godparents arrive, quickly followed by Câly and the two wizards with their children.
The first who had Apparated form a semi-circle around the last who came.
The people present are in awe. They've all read the front page of the Daily Prophet which doesn't deal with the anniversary of the defeat of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, but with Stork children delivered to the legally bonded saviours of the Magical world.
A photographer for the Daily Prophet rushes towards them and starts taking pictures... till Câly summons his camera and takes the film.
'No pictures,' she quietly says.
The photographer knows better than anger the Potter-Snape house-elf!
'What about me?' says a voice behind them.
'Colin!' Hermione shouts.
Colin Creevey now has a shop in Diagon Alley where he takes wizarding pictures for all occasions.
'You're about to present them, right?' Colin says.
They all nod.
'You'll be happy to have pictures of this day... Let me take them,' he offers.
'Thanks, Colin!' Harry accepts.
While the young wizard runs back to his shop, a wizard makes his way to the front of the witnesses. He's rather young, but neither Harry nor Severus know him from Hogwarts; he must be an alien. He looks them up and down and walks away.
'I'm ready!' announces a panting Colin with a provision of cameras and films.
Severus almost reluctantly gives Harold to George Weasley, who's standing next to Draco while Harry gives Sarina to Ginny, who's next to her brother Fred.
'Lo!' Ginny shouts, though it's only to respect the tradition because everybody's attention already is focussed on them all. She goes on, 'Before our friends and family, before you, made witnesses for the occasion, we, Virginia Malfoy née Weasley and Frederik Weasley, accept the responsibility of being the godparents of Sarina Potter-Snape.'
Fred takes over for the presentation of his goddaughter, 'Sarina Potter-Snape was born last Yule and has been brought to her parents this morning. May she be taught respect and know only love and light in our world!'
'We swear to take care of her and we will work on being good godparents,' Ginny vows.
'Welcome Sarina Potter-Snape into our world!' Fred shouts, and all the people in Diagon Alley take their wands and make a rain of petals, down and magical snow fall on Sarina who giggles and wins everybody's heart in a split second.
'Lo!' George shouts, 'Before our friends and family, before you, made witnesses for the occasion, we, George Weasley and Draco Malfoy, accept the responsibility of being the godparents of Harold Potter-Snape.'
Draco puts one protective hand on his godson and declares, 'Harold Potter-Snape was born last Yule and has been brought to his parents this morning. Allow me to be blunt in my blessing: the first to mess with him or his sister will be hexed to hell and back...'
Severus and Harry grin, proud of their choice. Some witnesses gulp.
'We swear to take care of him and we will work on being good godparents,' George vows.
'Welcome Harold Potter-Snape into our world!' Draco shouts, and a rain of tiny leaves, small flowers and magical rain fall on Harold; the boy catches some magical drops of rain which are like unbreakable bubbles of water and he grins. The witnesses consider melting on the floor.
The godparents give back the twins to their fathers and Colin walks up to them, 'I guess you have plenty of shopping to do.'
They all nod.
'Good... If you plan to have lunch at the Leaky Cauldron, I can bring you the pictures there,' Colin announces.
'You could even have lunch with us,' Harry offers.
'It's very kind of you, but I... er... I have a date and...'
'We understand,' Harry reassures him.
And slightly blushing, Colin goes to work on the rolls of pictures.
The Daily Prophet photographer waves at them to catch their eye.
'You said "no pictures"... I can understand that, you want your children to have some privacy, but... Could I write a paper on their presentation, please?' he practically begs.
Harry looks at Severus and nods.
'If you send us a copy before you publish anything, yes, we do give you permission to write about it,' Severus says.
The photographer is positively beaming and he has a silly grin pasted on his face when he runs back to the offices of the newspaper.
'I suggest we walk down the street and plunder the baby shops as we pass them,' Severus suggests.
'Sounds like a good idea, then we can take turns delivering everything to your home,' Hermione concedes.
'I think we'll go back to Oxford when we have everything we need,' Severus tells Albus.
'But maybe you could come with us and stay for some days,' Harry tells Minerva.
'When I think that before they got together...' George starts.
'... it was our privilege to confuse people by finishing each other's sentences...' Fred goes on.
'... and now...'
'... it's no longer a trademark of ours...'
'... it's disappointing!' the twins end together.
'We...' Harry says.
'... are...' Severus adds.
'... really sorry,' the couple choruses, clearly teasing the twins.
Albus winks at Minerva and says, 'All it takes...'
'... is some practice...' she goes on.
'Decades in our case!' Minerva and Albus almost giggle in unison.
'Ok! That's way too weird for my poor brain! May we go shopping before we're told in the Prophet that Frederick Rettin was shipped to St Mungo's for baby-sitting our four sons when he was already taking care of his daughter, his niece and her twin friends!'
'The Stewarts are staying with you?' Jules asks James Rettin.
'Yes... Amalia, Osiris and Odin have been begging us for some extra-lessons so they could join a group of the tutoring classes. We didn't refuse,' James answers and turning towards Ron he adds,' I'm sure my husband will baby-sit with the help of the children... He knows when to take a page off the Slytherin strategy book!'
'Excellent! The New Trio will be trained to baby-sit when we're back in school!' Harry exclaims.
'See, Ron?... Slytherin strategy book,' James adds, pointing at Harry and winking at Severus.
Severus reflects that his life really has taken an unexpected turn since that night when he fled his former friends and rescued "Potter"... and in the secrecy of his own mind he can admit that he loves every moment of his new life.
'Right... First stop: clothes for the babies if I'm not mistaken,' Hermione says, looking down the street.
'No, my dear... First stop Gringotts. We're Knutless,' Harry answers.
He hands Harold to Severus and jogs to the bank.
'We could carry one of the two,' Charlie offers.
Severus smiles and answers, 'That's very kind of you, but they're light as feathers and... not just yet...'
'Our sons and your children will go to school together...' Ron murmurs dreamily, caressing Sarina's cheek.
'What are your plans for them before they receive their Hogwarts letters?' Hermione wonders.
'I'll have to discuss this with Harry, but I guess we'll keep them with us and Câly can teach them to read when they're too old to stay in our classrooms without potentially causing accidents. She taught me most of the things I knew before I went to Hogwarts,' Severus says.
'I've often wondered how and why Câly was so articulate, so... different from the average house-elf,' Remus muses.
'That's easy, Mr Lupin,' Câly answers, 'Mistress Alba had planned to go back to work when her son turned two and, besides the fact that I was the one who had been assigned to take care of young Master Severus, she didn't want her son to be addressed with poor grammar; she even forbade baby talk. Severus was three when he started speaking, but his mastering of his native language was perfect. So that I would no longer be afflicted by "house-elf" talk, Mistress Alba put a spell on me and she made me belong to Severus - which is why it never was important how many items of clothing Severus's aunt gave me, she could not get rid of me like she had the others...'
'Others?' Remus says.
'My parents were richer than the Malfoys. Câly told me that we had many elves... My aunt could not separate me from Câly and when I passed my NEWTs, I could have lift my mother's spell, but Câly and I thought that it was for the best, so she still is under my mother's spell. Incidentally, I do hope none of you intend to use baby talk near our children. The first to do so will be hexed... to Egypt and back,' Severus declares.
'You're being kind on the hexing!' Draco jokes.
'Pitiful!' someone spits.
They all turn around and see the young alien wizard.
The MOSSes check the position of their wands in their sleeves.
'Do you have anything to say?' Draco asks defiantly, standing before Severus to protect him.
'That kind of magic should not be given to people like that!' the young man goes on, about to prove that hydrogen and bigotry are universal on earth.
'People like "that"? People like "what"?' James growls.
'Poofs!' he spits.
Before any of them as a chance to open their mouths, the earth begins to quake.
Then, they all notice that Severus is looking straight at his soulmate who's standing behind the alien.
'You were saying?' Harry snarls, a pouch of Galleons in his hand.
The young man turns around and falls.
Harry's eyes are glowing and Severus's are like black holes.
The alien kneels and whispers, 'I'm sorry.'
Gradually, the earthquake subsides.
The young man stands up on shaky legs when Molly Weasley arrives, covered with soot from head to toe.
'What happened?' she asks.
'Someone thought he could insult two powerful wizards and get away with it. He said Severus and Harry didn't deserve their children,' the other Mrs Weasley explains with a feral grin.
'And someone has been working on wandless magic,' Albus adds watching Severus and Harry who have just caused a huge earthquake in London.
'What!?' Molly yells and turns to the young man, 'Even I know that only love - pure love - can produce Stork children!'
'But... sissies!' the alien tries again.
That's one word too many and, to everybody's surprise it's Molly who reacts first and hexes him, barking, 'Eat slugs!'
Then, she turns towards Severus and says, 'Last year... I... I really thought you were taking advantage of Harry. I thought... I don't know... I was exhausted and Harry is like another son. I was afraid and said awful things to you and I'm truly sorry.'
Harry looks at his soulmate and says, 'Apology accepted.' Then he takes Sarina from Severus's arms.
'Maybe it's time to go and do that shopping before reporters start asking why there was an earthquake and why there's a foreign wizard spitting slugs?' Jules suggests.
Harry looks at Molly Weasley and says, 'If you promise not to try to impose your taste, you can come with us if you want.'
The witch practically squeaks with delight.
They find everything they need for seven months old babies, have lunch together - with a photo album delivery by a breathless Colin - and the friends and godparents say goodbye.
Severus, Harry, Albus, Minerva, Jules and Remus Apparate to Oxford where Câly is expecting them.
'There have been some changes in the house,' Câly announces as soon as they appear into the garden.
'What do you mean?' Severus asks.
'There's one more guest room and a nursery. The nursery has stored every parcel that have been brought back from Diagon Alley,' the little elf explains.
'Well, let's go and see,' Harry offers.
They first have a look at the new guest room.
'Câly... Would the "new" nursery be big enough to be transformed into a guest room?' Severus wonders, looking at the new room and holding Sarina.
'Yes, it would.'
'Why?' Remus asks.
'Because when they're old enough to have their own rooms, I guess we can turn the two guest rooms into bedrooms for the children and turn the nursery into a guest room,' Harry explains.
When they walk into the nursery that is right next to Harry and Severus's bedroom, Câly squeaks once more: everything is in order. All the furniture has been assembled and arranged in the room which is decorated with taste and the awful amount of toys that have been bought is patiently sitting in a huge chest.
As if the world no longer existed for them, Severus and Harry kiss both their children and kiss each other. The twins giggle.
When they turn around, Severus and Harry notice that they have been left alone in the nursery.
'That's unbelievable... I know we talked about adoption, like the Rettins, but these children... Our children... We're parents!' Harry says.
Severus pushes a lock of hair behind Harry's ear and asks, 'Are you all right?... With all this?'
Harry is positively beaming when he answers, 'Yesss!'
Both wizards wince in synchronization.
'Feeding time!' Harry declares.
They sit down in the rocking-chairs they've bought this morning and they feed their babies.
Mere flicks of their wands later, the twins are in new diapers and new outfits and in their respective beds which are next to each other.
Harry and Severus activate the wards that will monitor the sleep of their children and each of them takes one of the bracelets which is linked to the wards and will signal them when the babies wake up or need them.
In their small beds, the twins are looking at their fathers.
'They should be sleepy by now,' Harry states.
'They should... Maybe we could try to sing them a lullaby?' Severus offers.
'You try, your voice is sweeter than honey...'
Holding each other, they watch their children, the proofs of their love, fall asleep as Severus sings a lullaby.
When Harold and Sarina are asleep, sucking their left thumbs, their parents tiptoe out of the nursery.
They close the door behind them and Harry puts a Silencing charm on the room so that nothing will disturb their little angels.
Hugging his bonded as they walk back to their four guests in the garden, Harry says, 'I didn't know that you knew lullabies...'
'This is the only one I know. It must be a gift from my mother. I'll have to ask Câly... and we'll have to learn others...'
Before they go out into the garden where they can hear their friends chatting, Harry takes his soulmate in his arms and whispers in his ears, 'I love you.'
Severus pecks him on the lips and whispers back, 'I love you.'
'Thank you for wishing the children,' both wizards say at the exact same time.
They grin and walk to their guests and elf.
'Are they asleep?' Minerva asks.
Severus and Harry nod and sit down to sip a well deserved cup of tea.
'I know I'm but your godfather, Harry, but should you need help with the twins, all you have to do is call me, owl me, phone... whatever... If you need help, I'll be there!' Remus announces.
'You can count me in,' Jules adds with a grin.
'And us,' Albus says, holding Minerva's hand.
'Did you think we were joking when we said you'd be like grandparents to them?' Severus wonders.
'I... thought you were being kind,' Minerva confesses.
'No, we were serious... Damn serious,' Harry clarifies.
Minerva stands and kisses their brows. She's too moved to speak.
Albus is grinning like he belongs within the department of St Mungo's with padded walls.
'Are you sure you want us to stay for the weekend?' Jules asks.
'Yes, we are a family,' Harry says.
'And we will prevent you from exploding cauldrons till you've assimilated the fact that you are, indeed, parents...' Jules teases him.
'No... I cannot speak for Severus, but I will consider hyper-ventilating, having a heart attack and a breakdown after they've passed their NEWTs!' Harry declares.
'I'm planning the same schedule,' Severus adds.
The outside bell rings.
Harry extends his wand hand in the direction of the front door and says, 'It's the Synons. Do we give them their annual heart attack now or do we wait to introduce them to our children?'
'We might as well frighten them straight away,' Severus answers as he stands up and leaves the garden to go and open the door.
He comes back with Thomas, Susan and David Synon and introduces them to their guests, 'Remus Lupin is Harry's second godfather, Jules Ode is my oldest friend, Albus Dumbledore is the Headmaster of the school where we work and Minerva McGonagall is one of our fellows.'
They all shake hands and Thomas declares, 'And you are three couples.'
Minerva and Remus blush, Jules and Albus grin.
'We'll take that as a "yes" then,' Susan says with a smile as she sits down.
'Minerva and Albus are even more than fellows,' Harry begins.
'You see... We witnessed and lived a true miracle this morning,' Severus goes on as he pours tea for the Synons, knowing that they'll need a cup in a few seconds.
'Since this morning we are the happy parents of twins. A girl and a boy and Albus and Minerva are going to act as surrogate grandparents,' Harry explains.
'You adopted children this morning?' Susan wonders.
'No, and that's the magic of it. We've been - magically - given children who are of our blood,' Severus adds.
In spite of his eyes with house-elf proportions, Thomas declares, 'If you had told us, we would have brought you something for them.'
'We didn't know,' Harry says.
'You... didn't know?' David says with an utterly high pitched voice.
'No. We didn't know. They've been delivered this morning by magic,' Severus answers.
'What do you mean "delivered by magic"?' Susan asks.
'Er... you've heard the fable of storks delivering babies?' Jules intervenes.
The Synons nod.
'Well, it's a true story. Some higher magical power decided that Severus and Harry's love was strong and pure enough and they've been given two beautiful children, delivered by storks,' the priest adds.
With tears threatening to fall off her eyes, Susan congratulates them and is soon joined by her husband and her son.
'I'll baby-sit whenever you need,' David offers.
'Count me in!' Susan says, this time the tears rolling down her cheeks.
'And I, of course!' Thomas cheers.
'Have you chosen names already?' David asks.
'They've been delivered with names,' Harry tells his neighbour.
'But I cannot think of better names,' Severus whispers, understanding that those are probably the names he and Harry would have chosen.
'Names which are...' Thomas prompts them.
'Sarina for our daughter,' Severus says.
'And for our son, Harold,' Harry ends.
'Interesting names,' David whispers, lost in his thoughts.
'Indeed, "Little princess" and "Leader of the army"... It's not too bad,' Jules jokes.
'Where are they?' Susan wonders, apparently wishing to see the little miracles for real.
'Asleep in the nursery, but we can go and see them after tea if you want,' Severus offers.
Susan smiles and turns to look at her son who's sitting on the lawn next to his father. David deciphers that look and growls, 'Give me a break, Mum! I don't even have a steady date, so don't even think the word "baby", all right!?'
The mother blushes and hides in her cup of tea while Thomas laughs and the others giggle.
After tea, they go to the nursery and Severus places the Silencing charm on the babies' beds so they won't be disturbed by the visitors.
Susan is a mess of emotions and Thomas and his son know they've found something to tease her for weeks on end. But the three Muggle neighbours fall under the charm of the twins.
Severus and Harry wince again and the babies open their eyes.
'They can't be hungry again!' Harry practically wails.
'Apparently, they are!' Severus says.
'Would you like some help with the baby's bottles?' Susan offers.
Both wizards wince again, but this time it's because they really don't know how their Muggle neighbours are going to react when they're told that they are feeding their babies.
'There's been another miracle,' Remus declares, coming to the rescue of his godson and his soulmate, 'And they're being fed by their fathers.'
The Synons are speechless for five seconds, then Thomas wonders, 'Is it painful?'
'Not at all,' both answer.
'Of course it's not! If they can be given such a great gift and if they can feed them, it would be utterly twisted to make the experience painful for them when it's not for a woman... Have you been given tips by a lady friend?' Susan asks.
'Such as alternate the nipple we use to feed one of the children and swap children every now and then?' Harry wonders.
'You're all set, I see,' Susan declares with a happy grin. She grabs her husband and son's arms and drags them towards the door as she says, 'We'll wait for you in your fabulous garden.'
The four others follow her and the fathers sit again in the rocking-chairs.
'I hope we won't have to feed them that often!' Harry exclaims.
'It must be because of their delivery... They need strength. We did well to pick up Yule as their birthday... Four birthdays on the same day in July would have driven us all mad before their tenth birthday!' Severus says, quietly rocking in "his" chair.
There's a knock on the door and David shyly walks in.
'Câly asked me to tell you that she was planning dinner for the nine of us... Fuck! You know that this is hot to watch you feed them... and I should not say so because I'm not batting for your team!' the young man gasps.
'Language, David! If you want to baby-sit our children someday you'd better watch your tongue!' Severus states.
'Sorry, Professor Snape! You know... Maybe it's because you are a teacher, but... you really sound like a parent!'
Severus chuckles and Harold giggles against his chest.
'Thank you, David, now would you go and tell Câly that she can set the table in the parlour?'
The young man nods and reluctantly leaves the fathers.
It's Harry's turn to chuckle.
'So we're hot... Well, I hope that in a few weeks we won't look like Muggle passport pictures, because then it would be a very bad sign...' Harry muses.
'With magic and all the friends we have, I seriously doubt it, Darling!'
'Thank Merlin, Love! Thank Merlin!'
They enjoy the dinner, they enjoy the company of their friends and family over the weekend. They receive a mountain of toys from wizards and witches from all over the world - which are one by one verified for dark spells by the twins' godparents after their work in the London and Hogsmeade shops.
They get a letter from Hogwarts announcing that their quarters has expanded and created a very nice nursery with huge gothic windows with window-panes showing scenes from fairy tales - even though it's in the dungeons!
They appreciate that they have taken care of their respective school curriculum before they went to Albus's house in Hogsmeade: they're getting used to taking care of their children and they have to find a good rhythm before they go back to work.
A fortnight before they have to go back to school - and just after the first anniversary of their official bonding before witnesses - Harry has to go to Flourish and Blotts because the books he has written for the DADA classes are being released. Severus goes with him and when they Apparate back home as soon as they can go away, they find the twins fast asleep under the cherry tree, their sleep watched over by Câly, Hedwig, Leila and "Milk", the resident grass-snake, and both men smile with love.
When Harry enters their bathroom, the day before the first staff meeting at Hogwarts, holding Harold tight against his chest, he is covered with magical diaper's powder from head to toe.
Severus is bathing Sarina and he is positively soaked to the skin.
'I thought we had the trick to it,' Severus says.
'And on the eighth day God said, "O.K. Murphy. You take over.". That's the trick!' Harry answers.
With foolish wand waving, Severus dries Sarina and himself and Harry gets rid of the extra powder on Harold and himself.
Both fathers grin at each other: they're but apprentices at parenthood, but they're enjoying every step of the journey!
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