Home for the Holidays Characters: the entire Snape clan Summary: The Snape horde descends on Serenus' home village for a holiday visit.
"Are we all ready?"
Remus looked at the line up of his three children as they stood in the parlor, suitcases in front of them in a neat row. Cymbeline had Cyanide clutched in her arms, as usual, and Lysander held a leash with a bright-eyed, curious Winslow dancing at the end. Gaia was practically vibrating with excitement, her green eyes sparkling and her red pigtails bobbing up and down as she bounced in place.
"Ready!" Lysander and Cymbeline said in chorus; Lysander grinned, but Cymbeline rolled her eyes and gave a long-suffering sigh, obviously less than pleased at echoing her younger brother.
"Yes, yes, yes!" Gaia replied, and Remus smiled at all of them before turning to once again check his and Severus' bags. Everything seemed ready, and so Remus drew his wand, levitating all the bags up.
"Severus, we're all set to go!" he called out, preparing to head toward the newly installed door which now linked Snape Manor directly to Azoth House. The door had been Tybalt's idea, a way to make the two households seem more like one despite the distance separating them. The portal had been a big hit, especially with Serenus, and Remus thought it was worth the time and effort it had taken him, Regulus, Gaius, and Tybalt to perform the spell.
Severus swept into the room with his suitcase bobbing along behind him, his hair tied back and his throat obscured by the thick ruff of black faux fur of his new winter coat, which had been a gift from Regulus. "I'm coming," he replied, lifting his chin imperiously. They weren't going outside - not yet, at least - but he wanted to show off to the rest of the family; he felt as if all he lacked was a sleek cigarette holder, and he would look like a Muggle film star of the black-and-white era, and he'd even been tempted to dress up in the literal sense, but given where they were going, he thought it was for the best if he didn't indulge in a complete drag ensemble.
Remus' smile widened as he saw what Severus was wearing, and he moved over to put an arm around Severus' waist and press a kiss to his cheek. "You look ravishing - and ravishable," he murmured. "Too bad we have to go, or I'd be tempted to take you up to the bedroom and shag you while you wear nothing but that coat."
Smirking, Severus leaned into the kiss and slid his arm around Remus in return. "Later," he murmured, his breath warm against Remus' ear. "We will have a private room, and there are sound-proofing charms we can put to good use."
"Right." Remus sighed and turned his attention back to the children; even Gaia was giving them a knowing look, and he laughed and made a shooing gesture at them. "Okay, you lot, show's over! Go on over to Azoth House and tell Uncle Serenus we're right behind you."
"Yay!" Giving another hop of glee, Gaia ran off toward the door, opening it and dashing through it without ceremony. Winslow barked and sprinted after her, tugging on the leash and forcing Lysander to follow after.
Cymbeline shook her head. "Children," she said succinctly, as though her siblings were decades rather than a few years younger than she was, before trailing along in their wake at a much more dignified pace.
Remus watched, chuckling under his breath. "She's you all over again," he said softly, giving Severus waist a squeeze. "Shall we? At this rate, the children will be half way around the world before we can even get through the door."
"As tempting as it is to send them ahead and go back upstairs with you, yes, we should go," Severus drawled, watching Cymbeline with obvious pride. It pleased him to know one of their children was so much like him, carrying on his legacy to the next generation. "I confess, I am not altogether dreading the visit. It will be pleasant to see Serafina again and witness her reaction to the ever expanding clan."
"That it will," Remus agreed, guiding Severus toward the door, their luggage bobbing along in their wake. He looked at Severus with eyes sparkling with amusement. "And as far as the ever-expanding clan goes, I suspect Serenus would like to return from Italy one Snape greater than we're arriving with."
"No doubt," Severus replied dryly as he allowed himself to be led. "I suspect Tybalt will apply himself to the task with vigor, and if they do not return home one Snape greater, it will not be for lack of trying."
They stepped through the door, emerging into the parlor of Azoth House, and a rather frazzled looking Tybalt glanced up from where he was kneeling next to a sobbing Serafino. He rubbed his son's back, glancing up apologetically. "Sorry, he got knocked down in the confusion. But you'll be fine, won't you, sport?"
Serafino leaned into the caress of Tybalt's hand, scrubbing at his eyes with his fists before sniffing loudly and nodding. "Yes," he said, and Tybalt picked him up and rose to his feet.
"Poor lad," Remus said sympathetically, letting their luggage settle to the floor. He glanced around, noting the other bags set in groups around the room, and his eyes widened. "Dear Merlin, it looks like the King's Cross station when the Hogwart's Express shows up! All this for a couple of weeks in Italy?"
Tybalt laughed, hugging Serafino, who rested his head on his father's shoulder with a sigh. "I think most of it is toys for the children," he said, giving a wry shrug. "Plus supplies for the pets. This is looking more and more like an armed assault rather than a simple family trip."
"When you have a family the size of ours, there is no such thing as a simple family trip," Severus replied, and he gave Tybalt an arch look. "Are you certain you want to expand?" He was teasing, knowing how much Serenus and Tybalt wanted another child, but he couldn't resist picking a little under the circumstances.
"Absolutely," Tybalt said with no hesitation, his smile becoming soft and suspiciously soppy. "I didn't say I minded the chaos, you know. I was just pointing out the rather interesting logistics."
A buzz of voices came from the hall, and Gaius entered, trailed by the rest of the children and all the pets, except for Sekhmet. "Did someone say chaos?" he asked, looking a little bit frazzled.
Severus didn't bother to hide his smirk at the sight of his younger brother looking harried. "Let me guess: you have pushed back the possibility of even discussing children of your own another ten years."
Serenus walked in behind the entourage, arriving just in time to hear Severus' remark, and he laughed. "That, or he's going to start trying to coax Regulus into moving into a place of their own."
Regulus followed along behind Serenus, carrying Sekhmet, who watched all the activity with aloof hauteur, and he chuckled but said nothing, waiting to hear Gaius' response. He was dressed in the more casual robes he'd bought during their last trip to Egypt, and despite the informality of his dress, he looked immaculate, an amazing feat considering Etienne detached from the horde of children and ran to attach himself to Regulus' leg.
Rolling his eyes at Severus, Gaius shook his head and bent to pick up Gaia, who was holding up her arms to him insistently. He cuddled her close, his smile soft even as he shook his head. "I'm selfish. I'd like Regulus to myself for a while before we consider adding to the clan. Besides, the world will have to be well prepared for the dazzling beauty of the children we would produce. Mere mortals simply couldn't handle it yet."
It was Severus' turn to roll his eyes while Serenus laughed harder, and Regulus smiled as he moved to stand beside Gaius and slide his arm around Gaius' waist.
"I concur. The combination of Snape and Black genes is a potent one," he said, a twinkle in his pale eyes. "It isn't something to unleash on the world without consideration for the consequences."
"Oh, for God's sake, let's go before I find myself in dire need of something to calm my stomach," Severus said tartly.
Remus joined in the laughter, while Gaius smiled and turned to kiss Regulus' cheek. Tybalt gestured the children closer, gathering around the pile of luggage.
Sliding his free arm around Serenus' waist, Tybalt nodded. "Looks as though we're ready. Serenus? Do you have the Portkey?"
"I do indeed." Serenus fished a handkerchief out of his pocket and unwrapped it carefully to reveal a small wooden trinket in his palm. "Just touch this on the count of three. One... two... three!"
With a disorienting pull, the group were whisked away from Azoth House, and when they arrived, they found themselves in the cozy parlor of Serenus' old house, which had been refurnished and remodeled for use as a get-away house, one spacious enough to accommodate as many Snapes as needed.
"Here we are," Serenus announced cheerfully. "Dibs on the master bedroom. The rest of you can fight amongst yourselves over which bedroom you get."
"The children are all in the nursery," Tybalt said. "Come on, you lot, follow me, and I'll show you where everything is. Last one upstairs gets the bottom bunk!"
There were several squeals from the herd of children and then a general mad scramble for the stairs, Tybalt leading the charge with Winslow and Wooster bringing up the rear. Remus chuckled, then drew his wand and gestured toward the various suitcases.
"I see we might have to expand the place to three master suites," he said, raising a brow at Severus. "Have a preference, love? Rising sun or setting?"
"If anyone else has a particular preference, I could be bribed," Severus said with an arch look at Gaius. "Perhaps with the promise of footrubs."
Gaius laughed, tightening his grip on Regulus. "Sorry, mein bruder, but all my footrubs are booked for the foreseeable future. I have no real preference on bedrooms anyway." He turned to give Regulus a heated look. "So long as there is a bed, the rest of the decor is not worth noting."
"Agreed," Regulus said. "There are drapes for blocking out the sun, although for the record, I'm not quite so selfish and possessive that I won't share your skilled hands for the occasional footrub," he added, the sight of Severus' obvious disappointment moving him to altruism.
"Well, then, we'll take the western bedroom," Remus said, then with a gesture sent the suitcases off into the foyer and up the stairs. "And Gaius can give Severus a footrub after dinner. So, Serenus, do you expect the village to descend on us, or are we going to go calling? If we need to put together refreshments for visitors, we probably ought to get started."
"Oh, we won't be expected to cook," Serenus replied, shaking his head. "Not for a couple of days. We'll begin by making the rounds, and we'll be wined and dined until we can barely waddle back home, and once we've settled in, we'll reciprocate." His dark eyes were alight at the mere thought of throwing open his home and preparing a mountain of food for his friends and adopted family.
"I have a feeling some things about your brother are going to become much clearer to me," Regulus murmured to Gaius.
Gaius chuckled and nodded. "Oh yes, he's an Italian housewife at heart," he replied, his voice for Regulus' ears alone. Then he spoke up. "Well, if we're going calling, Regulus and I should get settled in. Right, love? We can freshen up so that we don't disgrace Serenus."
Remus snorted. "I can imagine exactly what you want to freshen," he said, chuckling and shaking his head. "Okay, then, we're going calling. Serafina first, I assume? Severus is looking forward to seeing her."
"I wouldn't dare do otherwise!" Serenus widened his eyes in mock-fear and pretended to tremble. "Yes, Serafina first, and after she holds court for a while, she'll take us where we need to go next. I told her we were coming today, so I'm sure she's spread the news, and everyone will be expecting us. They'll have everything planned as to who is serving what dish to us and when."
"It sounds like a rather lengthy process," Regulus said, grasping Gaius' hand. "We had indeed better 'freshen up' before we face the crowd. Shall we?" he asked, already tugging Gaius toward the stairs.
Severus rolled his eyes and reached for Remus' hand as well. "If they are going to 'freshen up', so are we," he announced. "Come along. I believe you said you wanted to see my coat anyway."
With a feline grin, Gaius took Regulus' hand, then looked back over his shoulder at his brothers. "We'll see you later... and we'll try not to be late for dinner."
Laughing, Remus turned to Severus, taking his hand and kissing it before moving to scoop Severus up in his arms. "I won't let you waste energy walking up the stairs, love. There are much better things you can use it for. Especially as, to be fair, we need to 'freshen up' quickly; we don't want Serenus and Tybalt to miss out, right? And someone has to watch the monsters."
"True," Severus agreed as he wound his arms around Remus' neck and relaxed in Remus' arms. "However, I can promise we will not sacrifice quality for quickness," he added, purring in Remus' ear. "I will make certain you feel quite refreshed indeed."
"Well, when you're all done, let me know so I can 'refresh' Tybalt," Serenus said, grinning wickedly. "I appreciate the 'freshening up' time, and I definitely will put it to good use."
"I bet you will," Remus said, glancing back at Serenus and winking. "We're anticipating your announcement of the newest Snape." Then he turned back to Severus, answering his grin with a devilish smile of his own. "No sacrifices anticipated. I know that you are most thorough in everything you do, and I look forward to being very refreshed, since only you can slake my thirst."
Smirking, Severus tightened his arms around Remus and nodded toward the stairs. "Then hurry up and take me to our room," he replied imperiously. "The sooner we are alone, the sooner I may begin refreshing you thoroughly."
Chuckling, Serenus shook his head and headed off to unpack some things he'd brought for the kitchen. He was eager to go upstairs and 'refresh' Tybalt as well, but he could wait his turn; he'd already stopped taking the contraceptive potion, and he'd packed the fertility wreath Ethelenda had given them long ago, and if he could make an announcement by the end of their stay, all the better. If not, it only meant more 'practice', and that was hardly a bad thing as far as he was concerned.