Severus sat at the old, scarred table in the kitchen, looking forlornly at the shards of a broken beaker, his face wet with tears.
It was a stupid, ugly, chipped old beaker that his mother had picked up at a jumble for 5p, when he was a small boy. This morning, it had slipped out of his hand and crashed to pieces in the kitchen sink.
He had picked up the pieces, intending to discard then, when he had suddenly remembered his mother drinking tea from the battered old thing. The tears had started of their own accord, and he sat down and let them flow. Mum would have been so horrified and disappointed to see him now, he thought, as the tears trickled down his cheeks. She had had such hopes for him, once...
He picked up a shard of the old beaker and ran his fingers over it. It might as well be his life, he thought bitterly. It hadn't been much, battered and chipped, ugly and worthless, but serviceable nonetheless. And now-- He sniffled and let the shard fall back into the pile. Shattered. Hardly worth the effort to mend it, all things considered...
There was a knock at the front door. Severus ignored it.
"Severus? May I come in, please?"
Harry Potter. Of course. Why would it be anyone else?
Severus bowed his head over the broken beaker and let Harry keep knocking.
As he had anticipated, Harry's patience had not improved. He heard the lock drop back and the door open and close, then footsteps approached.
"Severus?" Harry stood in the doorway, waiting.
"What is it, Harry?" Severus asked dully. There was no point in getting angry, really. There was no point to much of anything, come to that. He ran his finger through the ceramic chips again and rubbed the marks of his tears from one of the larger pieces.
"Severus, I had a talk with Hermione, and she told me some things," Harry said, making his way around the table and sitting down across from Severus. "And after we talked, I realized some other things, and I had to come and talk to you."
Severus just kept toying with the bits of the broken beaker.
"Severus?" His tiny store of patience was empty. He drew his wand and flicked it at the pile of shards. "Reparo!
The broken pieces spun around, caught up in a miniature whirlwind. They twisted and shifted, then fused together and came to rest as a whole beaker once more. Severus picked it up and looked over at Harry. "You cannot fix everything with a flick of your wand, Harry," he said quietly. "Some things cannot be mended, and some things...just are not worth mending." He pushed the beaker away and rested his face in his hands.
"Severus, listen to me. Whatever else may have happened, it is still possible that I'm the father," Harry said firmly. "And if I tell everyone I'm the father, no one is going to dare deny it...well, other than you, of course. Hermione had read a lot of theories on male conception...something about grades and potentials; it was pretty complicated. But none of that matters. I've finally realized something a lot more important. I don't care! I want to be the father of our baby, Severus. I'm choosing this. And unless you can show me proof that I'm not, and tell me to go away, then I want to be part of the baby's life."
Severus felt his hormonally driven emotions swinging over into outrage and fury. "You're choosing? How bloody magnanimous of you, Mr. Potter! What about my choices? Oh, no! I'm nothing but the freakish ex-Death Eater whore! Potter's special project! You want a say in raising this child? What the hell do you know about raising any child?" He rocked back in his seat, glaring at Harry.
"Not much," Harry admitted, quietly. "But I know that it's important for any child to be wanted and loved. To have a safe home and be raised by people who love and care for him." He leaned forward and caught Severus's balled fists in his hands. "And if the people raising the child care for each other...love each other...that's the best thing of all." Harry stood up and stepped closer, still holding Severus's hands and staring deep into his eyes. "Severus, let me take you home, you and our baby. Please?"
Severus found himself crying again. He jerked his hands free of Harry's and dashed the tears from his eyes. His sinuses were blocking up again and he sniffled, humiliated and angry, then demanded, "Do you really expect me to believe that you want to raise a child of Death Eaters?"
Harry bent down until they were nose to nose. "Just one particular Death Eater's," he said huskily, and kissed Severus's mouth.
The hormones took that as a cue to switch emotions again, and Severus felt his cock leap to attention.
Harry kissed him gently at first, his lips soft and pliant against Severus's. He smelled of rosemary and mint soap, and Severus breathed his scent in as if it were the first breath of fresh air in months. His lips parted and his tongue ran over Harry's lips, teasing them open. Harry pulled him to his feet and opened his own mouth. Their tongues slid against one another and explored each other's mouths. Harry gave his hand a little tug, and Severus followed him.
They didn't make it as far as the bedroom. In fact, they didn't make it quite as far as the sofa.
Severus felt a wave of pure lust surge up as Harry ran his hands up under his shirt and scratched deliciously along his shoulderblades and down his spine.
Everything happened in a bit of a blur, but Severus soon found himself kneeling on the floor of the living room, arse in the air, desperate for Harry to touch him, take him, fill him. Harry bent over him and kissed a trail along his spine, from the nape of his neck to his tailbone, making him shiver. He spread his legs wider and waited, but Harry had something else in mind.
He knelt behind Severus and kneaded his buttocks, then gently parted them and breathed over the pucker of his anus. Severus let out a tiny whimper.
Harry kissed the base of his spine again, then slowly, torturously, began licking downward, dragging the tip of his tongue along, millimetre by millimetre, until it was poised right over the tightly crinkled ring. Harry pursed his lips and sucked gently, making Severus gasp, then pressed his tongue inside and began rimming him thoroughly.
Severus groaned loudly as Harry's clever tongue slid in and out, flicking over the sensitive tissues and teasing his hole, then pressing in deeper, writhing inside him, driving him right to the edge of endurance.
His cock was pressed hard against his belly, and although he was supported by cushioning charms, he could get no appreciable friction on it. He gave a barely-audible whimper of frustration as he pressed back onto Harry's teasing, tantalizing tongue.
Harry ran his tongue all around Severus's anus again, then switched to slowly licking him. He shifted a bit to the side and slipped one hand between Severus's legs, cradling his swollen bollocks and gently rolling them back and forth with his fingers. He flattened his tongue out and licked more firmly, but still maddeningly slowly, from Severus's scrotum, up along the perineum, over his arsehole and all the way up to the base of his tailbone, over and over again, until Severus was quivering with need and trying desperately to frot against the cushioning charm.
Harry's hand slid forward and - finally! - wrapped around him. He stroked firmly, as he gave short, sharp licks across Severus's engorged and throbbing pucker. His thumb slid over the glans and gently flicked his frenulum.
Severus cried out, shaking, as pleasure jolted wildly through him. Harry pulled back and replaced his tongue with his fingers, thrusting them in and pressing deep to find the pad of Severus's prostate. His other hand kept stroking, the thumb swirling over the weeping glans on every upstroke. Severus moaned as Harry's probing fingers found the right spot, and he bucked, sending his cock sliding through Harry's fingers. Harry stroked the pad of his thumb firmly over his piss slit, as he crooked his fingers inside Severus's passage and pressed.
Severus gave a strangled shout and came, his body convulsing and shaking as his come spurted over Harry's fist and spattered all over the floor. Harry kept stroking and pressing, as if he wanted every last drop of Severus's come, until the spasms slowly eased and Severus slumped bonelessly into the cushioning charm's squashy embrace.
Harry stretched out and pulled Severus over against him, cradling him in his arms. They lay together for a while, chests heaving, until their racing pulses slowed.
Harry brushed the sweat-soaked hair out of Severus's face and pressed a kiss to his forehead. "All right there?"
Severus made a small grumbly sound. "No," he said peevishly, shifting and trying to find a comfortable position for his heavy belly.
"No?" Harry sounded worried. "What's wrong? I thought--"
"The floor is uncomfortable," Severus groused. "I want to be where there's a sofa without lumps...and a whirlpool bath for my aching feet and my sodding back spasms...and a big, comfortable, firm bed, that doesn't creak all night long." He looked at Harry for a moment, then turned his head away and rested it on Harry's chest. "I want to go home," he said, in a very small voice.
Harry swallowed hard, then cleared his throat and managed a tiny laugh. "Well, look what I've got in my pocket," he said, trying to sound playful, though his voice shook with emotion. He held out a keyring with one large brass key and a tiny replica of their house hanging from it. "Portkey," he explained, as Severus reached up to take hold of it.
Harry held him very tightly. "Let's go home, Severus," he said, and pressed the door of the little toy house.
Harry had been pacing back and forth for hours, it seemed. He had wanted...he had tried to wait at Severus's side through this, but Severus had screamed at him and fired off a couple of wandless spells that fairly singed the air. Poppy had just shaken her head and pointed to the door.
Harry decided discretion was definitely the better part of valour, at least when dealing with a Severus Snape who was about to give birth! He had been pacing back and forth in the nursery ever since.
It was sometime after midnight when he heard a tiny wail from Severus's room. He rushed to the door, but paused when the sound seemed to double...and then there seemed to be an entire chorus of babies crying!
What the hell?
He opened the door and cautiously approached the bed, where Severus lay soaked in sweat, eyelids heavy as he fought against sleep.
Poppy Pomfrey turned from the bedside and smiled at him. "Congratulations, Harry! They're fine, healthy babies, every one, and Severus did wonderfully well."
Harry took Severus's hand in his and gripped it hard, then drew it up and pressed a kiss to his palm.
"Soppy Gryff'dr," Severus mumbled.
"And you're amazing, Severus Snape," Harry said, wonderingly. "I've never known anyone to match your courage and sheer bloody-minded stubbornness."
Poppy smiled at them both. "I don't mind saying it took a fair bit of work to sort everything magically before performing the caesarian, but there were no complications, and the healing charms are working as they ought. I expect Severus will be up and around sometime tomorrow." She shook her finger at them, warningly. "He's not to overdo, mind! Once everything is healed up, we'll see about getting him back into fighting trim. I'm relying on you, Harry, to keep him under control until he's properly healed."
"I promise," Harry said, looking at Severus, whose eyes were blinking slower and slower as he lost his battle with sleep.
Severus snorted and opened his mouth to say something, but all that emerged was a snore.
Harry smiled, bent and kissed his sweaty brow. He stood by, watching Severus slip deeper into sleep, then something Poppy had said earlier finally registered. He turned back to her in wide-eyed concern.
"Poppy, did you say...babies?" he croaked.
"Certainly, babies!" Poppy laughed at him. "What did you think he would have? Kittens?" She took him by the arm and led him to the crib beside Severus's bed. Three tiny, red-faced, blanket-wrapped sausage rolls lay side-by-side, squirming and squinching their tiny features into horrible grimaces.
Harry's vision swam and he clutched at the rail of the crib for support. "Oh, my God! Triplets? Why didn't Severus tell me?" He stared at them in wonder, feeling something squeeze his heart so tight he thought it would burst. They were perfect and beautiful. He was terrified of touching them, and he knew in that moment that he already loved them, and would love them the rest of his life.
Poppy patted his arm. "He probably thought it would be a bit much for you to handle." She paused, then said in mild puzzlement, "Come to think of it, he seemed rather shocked that there were three, himself. He kept muttering something about twins, poor dear," Poppy chuckled. "I have no idea where he got that notion!"
They moved into the nursery, leaving Severus safely asleep, and warming and warning charms on the crib to keep the babies comfortable that would sound an alert if anything went wrong.
"Now, dear, they're fairly small, but about average for a multiple birth, and they seem quite hearty little ones. You've two sons and a daughter, by the way. I've sent a full report and the Attending Midwife's Record of Birth off to the Ministry; they'll send the formal naming and declaration of parentage documents for you to file in a day or two. You and Severus seem to have everything else ready for them, just as I would expect, although you'll have to get another crib or two, of course!" She smiled as he nodded, feebly.
"Severus showed me all the different types of nutritive potion and Muggle milk replacer, so you're well set there, but if you decide you want to hire a wet nurse, let me know; there are several I can recommend." Poppy hesitated, then pulled a bottle of potion from her satchel and handed it to Harry. "There's also this," she said. "It's lactation formula. It's commonly used by wet nurses and witches who have difficulty nursing, but it's not unheard of for wizards to use it to nurse their own infants, if there are no witches able and available to do it."
Harry stared at it, flushing slightly. "Does it make you...um...grow...?" He cupped his hands as if he were holding two cantaloupes against his chest.
Poppy laughed. "Your breasts will enlarge, yes, but not to the extent you're thinking, young man! The formula causes you to produce milk; it doesn't turn you into a woman!"
Harry blushed further. "Thanks, Poppy. I might give it a try, I suppose. I don't know if Severus will want to, though! We'll let you know about the wet nurse, too."
"Very well, dear. The babies each have their own charm bracelet; I gave Severus three new charms for his, linked to theirs. Here's one for you, too." She slipped a beaded bracelet over his hand. "I'll be alerted to any serious problems, and you can always call me, dear. Now, you get some rest, so you'll be able to look after your family." She patted his cheek and left.
Harry went back into Severus's room and sat down in a chair between the bed and the crib. Before long, the entire family was fast asleep.
Severus woke in the early hours before dawn, feeling groggy and decidedly odd. He pressed a hand to his belly and nearly panicked, then suddenly remembered: he was officially a parent; the babies had been born.
He sat up, wincing at the pain of the barely-healed incision in his abdomen, and looked around the room. Harry was asleep in a chair that was considerably larger than it had been last night, with a baby cradled in each arm and another on his chest.
Severus smirked. Harry and his cushioning charms! He managed to get to his feet and wobble over to inspect his offspring.
They were red and wrinkled, toothless, with sparse hair and eyes that didn't track. He had never seen anything so perfectly lovely in his entire life. He picked one up and held it for a moment.
Harry blinked, then jerked awake, looking around in a panic, before relaxing when he saw Severus holding the baby. "Hey," he said, "I thought you were supposed to be resting and healing."
"Poppy and I have been having that particular argument since before you were born, Harry," Severus said, chuckling. He grimaced as the motion made his belly hurt. "I had to be sure it had not all been a particularly vivid dream," he said softly, staring down at his daughter.
"Nightmare, you mean?" Harry asked ruefully.
Severus bent to place the baby back in the crib. "No...definitely a dream," he said, staring down at her.
Harry rose, still holding the other two babies. He kissed each one, then passed them one at a time to Severus, who put them back in the crib with their sister.
Harry wrapped an arm around his waist, hugging him very cautiously. "They're so beautiful," he breathed.
Severus nodded. He felt his throat tighten as he looked down at their barely-formed faces. He had to know, no matter the cost. His shoulders tensed as he cleared his throat. "So, whose are they?" he asked, quietly.
"Ours, of course," Harry said, confused.
"Idiot!" Severus snapped in annoyance, "What did the paternity spell show?"
Harry pulled back and looked at him. "I didn't cast one, Severus, and I didn't ask Poppy to do it," he said. "I'm not going to, either."
Severus stared at him in disbelief.
"I told you," Harry said softly, "They're ours...and you're mine," he added, drawing Severus into his arms and kissing him.
"Soppy Gryffindor," Severus said, his voice unaccountably hoarse.
"You'd better believe it," Harry said, and silenced any further protests with another kiss.
Two nights later Severus rose from their rumpled bed, careful not to disturb Harry, who was face-down, snoring lustily and drooling onto his pillow. He paused for an appreciative leer at the rounded, very well-shagged arse peeking out from under the coverlet and felt his tired cock twitch in response. Poppy had given him permission to resume having sex, as long as they were careful and didn't attempt anything overly strenuous. Harry had insisted on bottoming in deference to his condition - and had made liberal use of cushioning charms, of course! Severus smirked, then padded next door to the nursery.
Soft fairy lights illuminated the floor enough to prevent him from tripping over anything. They cast a faint glow into the three cribs, where Andrew Perseus Wulfric, Bryan Salazar Orion, and Cassiopaeia Ellen Rose all slumbered peacefully. He stood and watched them for a few moments, then touched each of them lightly with his wand and whispered, "ostendo abbas liberi!"
A glowing mist formed above each of the babies and began shaping itself into faces. In moments, Severus was looking at three ghostly, smiling images of himself and Harry, hovering over their children. He felt a lump form in his throat and there was an annoying dampness at the corners of his eyes that he was unable to blame on pesky hormones.
He heard a sound from their bedroom and quickly banished the spell. The misty images faded away.
Shuffling footsteps approached the door.
"Sev'rus? S'everythin' all righ'?" Harry mumbled sleepily.
Severus turned back to his drowsy lover. "Yes. Let's go back to bed. Everything is...just as it should be."
| * END * |