Mama Mia Characters: Remus, Severus, Cymbeline, Lysander, Gaia Summary: Remus and Severus explain the new development to the children. Follows this scene.
"Children, we have something to talk to you about."
Remus thought there was no sense in beating around the bush, not when Cymbeline was so intelligent and would no doubt guess there was something going on almost immediately. He smiled reassuringly, however, and kept his arm around Severus as they entered the parlor, leading Severus to the sofa so that they could do this sitting down.
Lysander, the constant worrier, took Gaia's hand and led her toward the sofa, while Cymbeline looked up, her face showing annoyance at being interrupted from the game she was playing with her doll house, which had gained the addition of a small, red-haired girl doll after Gaia had been born. That particular doll wasn't in evidence, Remus noticed, and he was almost afraid to ask what Cymbeline had done with it.
"Oh, all right," she said when she saw the look on her parents' faces, putting down the dolls and joining the rest of them, although she hung back rather than climbing onto the sofa. "What is it?"
"Nothing bad, not really," Remus said, leaning over to pick up Gaia when she held her arms up to him, settling her into his lap as Lysander knelt close to Severus' knees, his expression anxious.
"Not bad?" he asked, looking between the two of them for reassurance.
"No, not bad," Severus replied, reaching down to stroke Lysander's hair reassuringly. "Just... different."
Cymbeline stood nearby, not drawing near either of her parents, but she was studying Severus with growing interest. "You got bumps on your chest like Nanny Stella and Miss Debi." She paused, tilting her head. "Not as big, though."
Severus felt a rush of dull heat in his cheeks, and he grimaced slightly. "Yes, I do. That is part of the difference." He drew in a deep breath and released it slowly, bracing himself. "We had a magical accident, and as a result, I have undergone a change."
Lysander studied his papa closely, looking to see what Cymbeline had noticed. He could tell, sort of, but then sometimes Papa dressed in a way that made him look sorta like he had bumps anyway, and this wasn't that different. So it must be something else. "You not sick? You gonna be a wuff like Daddy?"
"No, Papa isn't going to be a wuff... wolf," Remus said, smiling at Lysander in approval. He was clever to think of that. "It was a good guess, though."
"I'm not sick either," Severus added. "It is simply that I am temporarily female rather than male."
"A girl? Like Mine and My Baby?" Lysander asked, his eyes wide and round. He knew his family was special, different from families in the storybooks because he had a Daddy and a Papa. Not that he minded at all - he thought his family was the best one in the whole world - but it was an odd concept. Boys and girls were different, everyone knew that, but if Papa was a girl now, was he still Papa? "We gots to call you Mama now?"
"No, definitely not!" Severus shook his head firmly. "This change isn't a permanent one." At least he hoped it wasn't. "I will be male again as soon as possible, so you needn't call me 'Mama'. I am still your papa."
"Did you change so you can make another baby like Miss Debi?" Cymbeline asked, eying him dubiously.
"No, I don't want another baby, not like this," Severus replied, an edge of vehemence in his voice. "I changed my appearance so I could participate in the Muggle fashion show, not because we are having another baby."
"Good," she muttered.
"Mama!" Gaia piped up, holding her hands out to Severus, opening and closing her fingers in the way she had of saying she wanted to be held. "Mama!"
"No, sweetie, it's still Papa!" Remus said, chuckling softly at the earnest expression on Gaia's face.
Remus shook his head and gave Severus a helpless look. "She seems rather insistent, doesn't she?"
Severus sighed, resisting the urge to hide his face in his hands. "No, Gaia, I am Papa," he said, hoping repetition would help.
She stretched towards him, opening and closing her fingers again. "Mama!"
He gave Remus a long-suffering look as he reached out to take her. "Perhaps she will revert to calling me the right thing when I revert."
"I hope so," Remus said, wrapping his arm around Severus' shoulders as Gaia's weight was lifted from his lap. "Otherwise that will amuse too many people, which in turn might lead to a high body count in your general vicinity. Not that I would blame you," he added quickly, lest Severus think it was a criticism. "You'd be perfectly justified."
"You gonna change back?" Lysander asked, patting Severus' knee with his hand. "I like you bein' a boy, Papa. Mine and My Baby are girls, so you should be a boy like me'n'Daddy."
Gaia nestled against Severus' bosom with disconcerting ease and comfort, and Severus regarded her, amused despite himself as he held her close. "I will change back as soon as I can," he said, turning his attention to Lysander. "I like being a man, and Daddy likes me being a man too much for me to remain like this."
Cymbeline edged closer, studying Severus curiously; she liked Papa as he was, but somehow, she didn't mind if he was a girl like her. "You're a pretty girl, though," she said at last. "Will I look like you when I grow up?"
"Fairly close, I imagine," Severus replied, rocking Gaia gently while she cooed with obvious contentment.
"Good." She nodded, seeming satisfied by that answer. "'Cept I want bigger bumps."
Remus made a strangled noise, which he quickly turned into a cough. The children were definitely accepting this better that he was - especially Gaia, it appeared - but then they didn't have a real stake in what lay beneath Severus' clothes. Or rather, they didn't once they had been born!
"Papa looks wonderful, no matter what - and having bigger bumps isn't everything, you know," Remus said, trying not to laugh at the skeptical look Cymbeline shot him. "We wanted you to know because things might be a little strange for a bit, but they'll get back to normal as soon as we can find the right spell."
"Okay." Cymbeline nodded, accepting the explanation at face value. After all, she lived in a house with a dragon in the back and had recently had a hurricane interrupt her birthday party. Finding out her papa had been temporarily stuck as a girl wasn't that shocking in the grand scheme of things, and she had utter faith that her parents could fix anything. "You can borrow my tiara," she added magnanimously. Wearing pretty, sparkly things always made her feel better, and it seemed like Papa needed cheering up.
"Thank you," Severus replied, managing a straight face easily enough. "I appreciate the offer."
"That's very sweet, Princess," Remus said, reaching out to squeeze Cymbeline's hand affectionately. "We'll all need to help out to remind Papa that we love him no matter what, right?"
"Right!" Lysander hopped up on the sofa on Severus' other side, wrapping his arms around Severus' shoulders and hugging him tightly. "I wuv you, Papa. I hope you feel better!"
"I do feel better," Severus replied, turning his head to drop a kiss on Lysander's forehead. It was astonishing to find himself surrounded by a family - his family - and have their support and affection; he had spent most of his life convinced he would remain alone, and even though he had been steadily amassing a larger and larger family over the last few years, there were times when he couldn't quite believe it was all real. "As long as I have my family, I will be fine, no matter what happens."
"That's right," Remus said, leaning against Severus' side, turning their embrace into a cuddle. He held out an arm to Cymbeline in invitation, in case she wanted to be included. "We're a family, and we help each other out. As long as we're together, we can face anything."
"Right!" Lysander agreed.
"Mama!" Gaia replied.
Cymbeline paused, then accepted the invitation, climbing onto the sofa to join the rest of them; she wasn't as much of a cuddler as she had been before Gaia came along, but this was a special occasion, and she didn't want to be left out.
"Papa," Severus corrected, but Gaia merely beamed up at him, and he sighed again. "Right. We can face anything. Even being called mama."