Making the Rounds Characters: the entire Snape clan Summary: The Snape entourage visit Serafina, and there are presents.
After everyone was finally unpacked, settled in, and 'refreshed', Serenus began rounding up the family and bundling up the children in preparation for their round of visits.
"For those of you who aren't affectionately inclined, do try not to grimace too much at all the hugs and kisses, even from people you don't know," he advised as he herded everyone toward the door. "You're part of my family, so now you're part of their family, and that's just how we are."
Regulus pretended to check off an item on a list. "Touchy-feely tendencies: explained," he whispered to Gaius, smiling mischievously.
"Everyone has their hats, scarves, gloves, coats, and necessary stuffed toys? The pets are secured?" At the answering nods, Serenus flung open the door and shooed them out. "Right, we're ready. Let's go! First stop, Serafina!" He grabbed Tybalt as he passed by and tucked his arm through Tybalt's so they could walk along together, pausing only to close the door behind the last of the Snape brood; he didn't bother to lock up, an unnecessary precaution in this quiet village.
Remus stepped up immediately to take Severus' arm, clasping his hand and twining their fingers. "I'll field as many of the hugs and kisses for you as I can," he murmured, his eyes warm. "Or perhaps you could hold Gaia out to people when they try to hug you. Who can resist one of our babies?"
With a chuckle, Gaius wound an arm around Regulus' waist. "If you think Serenus is touchy-feely, you'll be overwhelmed by Serafina and the rest of Serenus' adoptive family," he said, his eyes glittering with amusement. "Serenus is positively restrained in comparison - it must be the Snape in him."
"I wonder if this lot will be a bit much even for Serafina," Tybalt said to Serenus, reaching out with his free hand to tuck a stray lock of Serenus' dark hair behind one ear, then trailing his finger down Serenus' cheek as they continued on. "Quite a change from the lone man who departed this village not so many years ago, isn't it? The Italians admire fecundity, so you've probably moved up the social scale quite a bit since then!"
Smiling, Serenus leaned into the touch and pressed Tybalt's arm closer against his side. "Oh, yes," he replied, a mischievous note in his voice. "I've proven my fertility in bearing twins, so you'd better be grateful you're my first husband and not vying to be my second. My spouse price would be astronomical." He sighed happily as he looked around, already relaxing and feeling as if he'd come home now that he was in the familiar surroundings of his childhood. "Much has changed since I left. Not here, but certainly with me." He rubbed his cheek against Tybalt's shoulder affectionately. "All for the better."
Sliding his arm across Gaius' shoulders, Regulus glanced at him, one eyebrow raised. "Coming as I do from a family where a single pat on the shoulder was considered demonstrative, any normal person would seem touchy-feely in comparison. I think I'll survive the onslaught of affection, however. I don't dislike being touched; it is simply not habitual with me... or at least it wasn't until I became embroiled with you and your lot," he added, teasing.
Severus gave a shudder at the thought of being engulfed in endless embraces even as he twined his fingers with Remus' and squeezed gently. "That is an excellent idea. Gaia does not mind being fussed over, and perhaps if I use her as a shield, I can avoid being accosted myself."
Remus chuckled, then pointed to the small house they were approaching. "Ah, I see we're about to see if distraction by infants works to save you." He turned to look back over his shoulder at Serenus. "You'd best come up here and make all the introductions. You're the senior member of the family, after all."
"That's right. I am," Serenus said as he swept past Severus in an obvious parody of Severus' own grand sweeps and cast a lofty look at Severus, and Severus rolled his eyes at the blatant teasing. As soon as they reachedSerafina's cottage, he knocked, and the door opened almost immediately, as if Serafina had been waiting and watching for their arrival, which she probably had been.
"My boy!" she exclaimed happily, and she enfolded Serenus in a warm embrace, her eyes suspiciously watery as she greeted him. "And you brought everyone in your family with you, I see," she added as she drew back and noticed the small horde on her doorstep.
"I said I would drag them all here with me for our Christmas visit, didn't I?" Serenus kissed her cheek before stepping back and drawing breath to make the introductions. "You know Severus and Remus, of course. Those three are their children, Cymbeline, Lysander, and Gaia. This is our youngest brother, Gaius, and his current cat toy, Regulus Black," he teased impishly. "And of course, I still have my big, strong Auror, Tybalt and our boys." He laughed and shook his head. "If I forgot anyone, speak up!"
"I think that was everyone," Tybalt said, stepping forward to give Serafina a hug and a smacking kiss on her wrinkled cheek. "It's wonderful to see you again." He stepped back, scooping up Etienne and Serafino so that they could give her their own greetings.
"All right, our turn," Remus said, waiting for Tybalt to move away so that he could take Serafina's hand and kiss it gallantly. "As ever, I am very happy to see you, gracious lady."
Serafina smiled coyly at him and patted his cheek. "As I am happy to see you, pretty wolf. It has been far too long!" When Remus stepped back, she gestured imperiously for Severus to approach, which he did, and he bent obligingly and accepted a kiss on his cheek without any grumbling. "It is good to see you as well. It seems your wolf has been treating you quite well."
"He has, yes," Severus replied, straightening again. "I have no complaints."
"If ever you do, I will happily take him off your hands," she teased, and he gave a quiet snort.
"I doubt that day will ever come, but if it does, at least I know he will be in good hands," Severus said, casting a little smirk in Remus' direction.
"Indeed he will! Now let me see this other brother of yours." She gestured to Gaius, an unmistakable command to approach. "Another handsome Snape! And he has a pretty companion as well. You and your family have enjoyed an embarrassment of riches," she said, glancing at Serenus. "How fortunate I am you are willing to share. I do not think there have been so many handsome men in my house all at one time before."
Gaius smiled as he stepped up, pulling Regulus along with him. "I'm happy to finally meet you," he said, bending to kiss Serafina's cheek. "I've heard so much about you from Serenus that I feel as though I know you already. And don't let Serenus fool you. Regulus isn't my toy, although I'm very fortunate that he likes to play with me." He turned to give Regulus a heated glance, leaving him with no doubt as to what Gaius' favorite game was.
Regulus returned the look with a knowing smile; he was amused rather than offended by Serenus' description, and he certainly couldn't deny that he enjoyed playing particular games with Gaius a great deal.
"No wonder he likes to play with you - and you with him," Serafina said, giving Regulus a thorough appraisal and nodding her approval. She beckoned him to bend and kissed his cheek as she had Severus', and Regulus smiled at her, feeling oddly welcome despite being in a strange country and surrounded by people he'd never seen before in his life.
"Well, now that the introductions are all over, dare I hope there might be some of your fantastic native Italian delicacies just waiting for consumption?" Tybalt asked, widening his eyes and rubbing his stomach as though he was starving. "I'm famished, and we were so busy... unpacking... that we didn't have time for anything but a small snack, and there are at least four growing boys here... right, Serafino?"
"Wight!" Serafino said, clinging to Tybalt and looking at Serafina imploringly.
Laughing, Serafina moved aside and ushered the group inside. "Come in, come in! I might have a few dishes prepared," she said, her eyes twinkling. "If what I provide does not satisfy the appetites of our growing boys, I know where we might find a little more."
"Translation: there's enough food to feed an entire army of growing boys waiting for us at various homes in the village," Serenus said, grinning. "Don't worry, all you growing boys will have all you can eat tonight and then some." He moved closer to Tybalt and murmured for Tybalt's ears alone, "And if you aren't satisfied, I know quite well how to turn you into a real growing boy."
"You certainly do," Tybalt replied, kissing Serenus on the nose before smiling wickedly and following Serafina into the house. The rest of the Snape clan followed, and Tybalt sat down in the middle of the floor, where he was immediately draped with various children.
Gaius homed in on a love-seat, patting the space beside him and raising a brow at Regulus. "This looks perfect," he said. Glancing around the cottage, he took note of the homey notes and the warmth and comfort of the furnishings. "Your home is lovely, Serafina. It looks exactly like you, inviting and charming."
Serafina smiled as she began levitating covered dishes from the kitchen to the table, obviously pleased by the compliment. "Thank you. I believe a house should be lived in, not a showcase."
Serenus went to help set out the food without being asked, uncovering dishes and fetching plates and silverware; he'd done it often enough when he was younger, and nothing had changed in the intervening years. Regulus sat down on thelove-seat beside Gaius, stretching one arm along the back of it behind Gaius' shoulders. Severus claimed a place of the sofa, settling himself in comfortably.
"I have wine for the adults and milk for the children," Serafina announced. "Serenus, you may help serve the plates. I will give you all a little of everything. You should try all of it at least once," she added firmly, her tone brooking no argument, and Serenus snickered, remembering all the times she had gotten him to try new dishes as a child.
Remus made certain that Severus was settled in and that the children were arrayed satisfactorily, then presented himself to Serafina to help out as well. "I can help with the beverages," he told her with a smile, drawing his wand. "With our merry band, some no-spill charms wouldn't go amiss, just to keep your carpet from wearing more milk than the children manage to drink."
"I'm always willing to try new things," Gaius said, nudging Regulus with his shoulder and giving him a wicked look. "I've found some of my favorite dishes that way."
"No doubt," Tybalt commented, smirking at the pair on the love-seat as he bounced Gaia on his knee. Serafino had taken up a perch on his father's shoulders, while Lysander lounged in front of them, keeping a careful watch over his baby sister, as though she was made of spun glass and he was afraid that Tybalt would break her. Etienne and Cymbeline remained a little apart, both on their best behavior with their Snape dignity showing, and Tybalt chuckled, wondering if the new child he and Serenus hoped to have would even out the numbers.
Serenus helped Serafina load up the plates and began passing them around along with napkins and silverware, and he settled on the floor beside Tybalt with his own plate.
"I am quite aware of how adventurous you are," Regulus replied with a wicked look of his own before tucking in. He didn't recognize half of what was on his plate despite having eaten Serenus' food for months, but it tasted good, and that was all that mattered to him.
Remus passed around glasses of wine and milk - all of them with spill-proof charms, just in case - before returning to Severus' side, handing his mate a glass of the wine and then taking his place beside him. He took a bite of something pasta-like in a cream sauce, and gave a sigh of pleasure. "This is wonderful, Serafina. Thank you for feeding us."
Tybalt urged Serafino down from his shoulders - wary of ending up with food in his hair - then began to tuck into his own food with appetite. "I always have to do extra work outs for a couple of weeks after we visit," he said, gesturing at the rich food on his plate but not hesitating to continue stuffing his face. "It's worth it, though."
Sighing happily as he scarfed down comfort food, Serenus nodded his agreement. "It is indeed. This is wonderful, Serafina, as always. I've missed your cooking."
"Of course you have." Serafina nodded serenely. "But you keep your boys well-fed, yes?"
"Oh, yes." Serenus smiled slyly at Tybalt. "They're all quite satisfied."
Severus snorted loudly, but he said nothing.
"I'm totally and completely satisfied," Tybalt said, leaning over to kiss Serenus' cheek, before giving Severus an arch look of his own. "You do very well, love. It's not easy dealing with us, I know, but you're perfect."
"Serenus even keeps Regulus and me fed," Gaius said, beaming at his eldest brother before looking at Serafina. "He and Tybalt are allowing Regulus and me to live with them, so Serenus really does have his hands full. Of course, I think it's because of your influence that he wants to have an entirehorde to care for."
Serafina chuckled as she took a seat in a chair by the fireplace, regarding her guests sprawled around the room with benevolent affection. "No doubt it is," she agreed. "Serenus may have been an only child and without a father to boot, but he had an extensive family nonetheless, and he grew up knowing every door was an open door."
"It's a tradition I'm happy to carry on," Serenus said, leaning against Tybalt as he ate. "I like having a house full of people, and I don't find it to be any trouble at all to care for all of them."
"At this rate, you're going to need the direct connection to the manor just to deal with the overflow," Severus said tartly.
"Why do you think I suggested it?" Tybalt asked, grinning evilly. "That way, there are two houses for everyone to spread into, which could be important as the boys grow. As tall as we all are - well, Gaius excepted - the children are going to be hulking as well, and we're all going to be bumping into each other in a couple of years."
"Hey! I like being small!" Gaius protested, sticking out his tongue at Tybalt. "Besides, it has certain advantages."
"Good things come in small packages," Regulus said, giving Gaius a little squeeze. "Not that Gaius has a small package..."
"Pfft!" Severus waved dismissively. "He's a Snape, isn't he?"
Gaius actually managed to blush, which was rare enough to set Remus to chuckling evilly. "Goodness, we finally found something that will leave Gaius speechless! Everyone take note!"
"Who's got a package?" Serafino asked, looking between Serenus and Tybalt with bright eyes. "Are we getting presents?"
"Oh, lord... little pitchers," Tybalt groaned, shaking his head. "No, love, no presents. Uncle Regulus was making a joke, that's all."
Serafino's expression made it clear that presents were no joking matter, and Regulus gave him an apologetic look. "I'm sorry, little one. I didn't intend to getanyone's hopes up."
"Who says there are no presents?" Serafina said archly. "It is Christmas, and I would not forget my adopted great-grandchildren." She paused before adding, "Or their cousins or my adopted grandson, his spouse and brothers, and all the rest. Clean your plates - all of you," she said, sweeping her gaze around the room and including the adults, "-and you shall have presents."
The children all set to cleaning their plates diligently, and Tybalt chuckled, giving Serafina a grateful look and mouthing "thank you" overSerafino's head. Then he, too, set about finishing his food, glad that they had also brought gifts for Serafina and everyone else in the village they were likely to be visiting.
Leaning close to Severus, Remus chuckled. "The frightening thing is that Cymbeline didn't ask. I have an awful suspicion she might have known Regulus wasn't talking about gifts!"
"All things considered, are you surprised?" Severus asked quietly, arching one eyebrow. "She is a clever girl, and as careful as we all are, she would have to be stupid indeed not to realize how... affectionate we are to our respective partners."
"True," Remus said, then nuzzled Severus' cheek. "I suppose our little girl has to grow up sometime."
Gaius was relieved that the conversation had moved away from his package, and he turned to whisper in Regulus' ear. "Remind me to spank you for that later," he purred. "You're a very naughty boy!"
"Naughty?" Regulus widened his eyes in faux-innocence. "I was defending your honor. How is that deserving of a spanking?"
Severus returned the nuzzling and cast a wistful look at Cymbeline. "I suppose she does. They all do, unfortunately."
"As if you don't know!" Gaius replied, his eyes dancing with amusement. He finished up the last delicious morsel on his plate, then stood and held out his hand for Regulus' plate. "I'll help clear up, just to show that I can be useful."
"I'll help, too," Tybalt said, giving Serenus a smacking kiss on the cheek before rising to his feet. He collected up the plates and cups of the children and Serenus, then turned to take Remus and Severus'. "Come on, Uncle Kitty. We can wash this all up for Serafina."
Remus passed over his plate, then settled in, wrapping a comforting arm around Severus' shoulders. "It's true the children are growing up," he murmured, running his free hand down Severus arm. "But there are advantages to that too, you know. Such as more time for being refreshed."
Severus leaned against Remus' side and nodded. "I know. That is why I decided not to have another baby once the children were old enough to attend Hogwarts, and I have not changed my mind on that point. I still want time for us alone together as a couple. However, it does not make me any less reluctant to witness the children growing up so quickly. It seems as if it were only yesterday that they were squalling infants."
"I know, love, I know." Remus hugged Severus tightly, sharing the sense of disbelief that their tiny babies were approaching the age to go to Hogwarts - the same age when he and Severus had met for the first time, which was rather mind-boggling all on its own. "Time does seem to fly by."
"Indeed it does," Severus murmured, leaning his head on Remus' shoulder. "But at least I can say I do not feel as if the last few years of my life have been wasted."
"Neither have mine," Remus replied, snuggling up to Severus. "I feel as though my life didn't really begin until we got together. Everything before that was just an existence."
There were sounds of running water and good natured laughter from the kitchen, and then Tybalt and Gaius re-emerged, both of them damp, and Tybalt had a dollop of suds in his hair. "Dishes done!" he said proudly, moving back to Serenus' side. "We didn't even break any."
"You're just in time," Serenus said, rising to his feet and wrapping his arms around Tybalt, heedless of the damp spots. "I believe we were just about to see Severus being sentimental."
"Hah!" Severus gave his twin a withering glare. "We were merely having a serious conversation, that's all."
"Mm-hmm." Serenus smiled placidly, his expression knowing despite Severus' best scowls.
Gaius moved to Regulus, sitting down beside him and cuddling close. "I have performed my manual labor for the day," he said, giving a long-suffering sigh. "You can give Serafina our gift, Regulus. I'm exhausted."
Tybalt rolled his eyes at Gaius, even as he hugged Serenus close. "Hedonist," he said, shaking his head. "And I don't want to see Severus being sentimental, because no doubt he'd want to kill all witnesses, and you have plans for my body. I'll just look away and help the children give Serafina their gifts, and maybe he'll overlook me in the bloodshed."
"Now, now, no picking on my mate," Remus said chidingly. "It's the holidays!"
"That's right," Severus replied, lifting his nose in the air. "No picking on me, or you'll have Remus to deal with."
"Poor darling," Regulus said, smiling even as he wrapped his arms around Gaius again. "Remind me to massage your hands with lotion later. It wouldn't do to have them become chapped or calloused. I brought a jar large enough for both of us, the cinnamon scented type you like."
"You're so thoughtful. No wonder I love you madly," Gaius replied, kissing Regulus lightly on the lips.
"Presents!" Serafino said, and Gaia echoed her cousin. Apparently the little ones were tired of waiting, now that everything had been cleared away and the adults seemed to be settling in for cuddles and snogs. Serafino jumped to his feet and tugged at Tybalt's jumper. "Can Igif mine to Grammy 'Fina first?"
"Of course," Tybalt said, hugging Serenus again before releasing him. "I believe you have everything shrunken?"
"Indeed I do." Serenus fished a small bundle out of his pocket and placed it on the floor; drawing his wand, he waved it over the bundle, which bloomed into a pile of brightly wrapped presents. He bent and sorted through the pile until he foundSerafino's present, and he held it out. "Here you go, love. You can give that to Granny Fina."
"Yay!" Serafino took his gift, which was wrapped in brilliant blue and green paper, and ran over to Serafina. Holding it out, he gave a shy smile. "I make it!"
Serafina smiled warmly at her namesake and accepted the package. "Thank you," she said, bending to kiss his cheek. "Presents made by hand are the best kind." She unwrapped the gift to reveal a small, lumpy dragon made of clay; it had been painted a garish red, and it lurched around her palm awkwardly, spitting sparks. "How ferocious it is!"
"It proteck you!" Serafino said solemnly, nodding his head. "I no want nuffin' happen to you! I love you, Grammy Fina!"
"I love you too, little one," she replied, reaching out to stroke his hair with her free hand. "I shall keep my new little guardian with me always."
Serafino beamed, then gave Serafina a hug and ran back to Tybalt and Serenus. "She like it!" he said, doing a little dance of excitement. "Now you, 'Tien! You haf to do yours!"
With more dignity and solemnity than his twin had exhibited, Etienne left his cousin Cymbeline's side and fetched his gift from his daddy to present to Serafina. "I made dis," he said somberly, and Serafina nodded, accepting the gift as if it was a gift of state presented by one dignitary to another.
"Thank you," she said before unwrapping the gift to find a paperweight in the rough shape of a cartoonish looking skull. "This is perfect!" she exclaimed. "It will be very useful in keeping my recipe parchments unfurled."
Smiling proudly, Etienne accepted a kiss and hurried back to his brother and parents, satisfied with a job well done.
Tybalt bent down to hug both of the twins, pleased with how gracious they had been. "That was well done," he told them, planting a kiss on one plump cheek of each little boy. "I'm proud of you both."
"You turn," Remus said, smiling at Gaia, Lysander, and Cymbeline. Lysander moved to the pile and picked up the present that was from all three of them, then gestured to his sisters to accompany him.
"This is for you," he said, holding out the green package tied with silver ribbons.
"It's from me and Lysander," Cymbeline said, then at the sound of clearing throats, she gave a small huff. "And Gaia."
Severus shook his head at her continued resistance at including her sister unless prodded, although he supposed they ought to be grateful she hadn't said, "and the troll" instead.
Overlooking the little hitch, Serafina smiled warmly at all three of them. "How sweet! Thank you, children," she said. This present turned out to be a green bottle filled with sweet scented bath oil, and Cymbeline lifted her chin proudly.
"I brewed it myself," she said.
"And Gaia and I picked the flowers for it," Lysander said, holding Gaia's hand as she waved shyly at Serafina.
"It was definitely a group effort," Remus added, then looked at Serenus. "Speaking of group efforts, why don't you give her the gift from the four of us?"
"Gladly," Serenus replied with a smile, and he bent to find the large box of Alchemy & Ecstasy products. All four of them had chosen items they thought Serafina might like. Some things, like the glittery nail polish, were fanciful and meant purely to amuse her, while others, like the assortment of lotions and shampoos, were meant to be useful; Severus had even tweaked a few things with Serenus' help, customizing them especially for Serafina.
When she unwrapped the box, she exclaimed in delight over what she saw inside, and she beamed at the four of them. "How lovely! I will have my own 'spa', and my friends will all envy me."
"Especially when they see how youthful and revitalized you look," Serenus said with a playful wink. "Who knows? You might even have some of the men chasing you around."
She laughed, her eyes twinkling with mirth. "If you can bring back those days, I will consider these miracle products indeed!"
"Don't underestimate Severus' skills," Remus said, giving his mate a squeeze. "If he can bottle fame and stopper death, then helping you get a man should be a piece of cake."
"Definitely, as she doesn't need much help," Tybalt said, giving Serafina a broad wink.
"Indeed, she doesn't," Gaius said. He kissed Regulus' cheek, then disentangled himself from their embrace and rose from the love-seat with feline grace. Crossing to the remaining gift, he picked it up and brought it to Serafina, offering it to her with a bow. "For your comfort, my lady. We weren't certain which colors you preferred, so we made it possible for you to select your own."
With curiosity evident in her expression, Serafina opened the gift to reveal several plump pillows made of luxurious fabric; at the moment, they were plain white, but Regulus drew his wand and cast a charm, and the pillows turned a bright, brilliant green.
"Simply perform the charm, and you can change them to any color you can imagine, including patterns," he explained. "That way, they will always match, no matter where you use them."
"How clever!" She stroked one pillow, enjoying the softness of the fabric. "I shall enjoy these very much."
"I'm glad," Gaius said, bending down to give Serafina a kiss on the cheek, then returning to Regulus. He settled down on the love-seat, draping himself across Regulus comfortably.
"I'm glad you liked everything," Tybalt said, smiling at Serafina as he wrapped his arms around Serenus. He looked down into Serenus' eyes, raising a brow in question, and at Serenus' slight nod, he returned his attention to Serafina. "We'll also let you in on a small family secret: Serenus and I are trying to expand our family again. Hopefully by next fall, there will be another little Snape to make your acquaintance."
"Wonderful!" Serafina beamed, obviously delighted, and she moved to embrace them both. "I am glad you have the family you always wanted," she said, patting Serenus' cheek gently. "I remember how much you wished for a large family. Well, I think your wish has been granted!"
"Definitely," Serenus replied, smiling broadly. "I got my wish and then some!"
"I think we all did," Remus spoke up, watching the others with a sentimental smile. "We were all a bunch of lonely men looking for family, and somehow it all came together perfectly. We're very lucky to have made a family."
"Hear, hear," Serenus said, nodding his agreement.
For once, Severus didn't grumble about soppiness; he shifted closer to Remus instead, and next to Gaius, Regulus nodded as well.
"Absolutely," Tybalt agreed, hugging Serenus close. He felt a tug on his jumper and looked down to see Serafino looking up, his blue eyes wide.
"Daddy, do we get presents now?" he asked in a stage whisper, and Tybalt laughed.
"That's up to Serafina," he replied.
"Of course you get presents," Serafina replied, chuckling warmly. "I have presents for everyone, and after that, we must depart. There are others who wish to see you, and they will be cross if I monopolize your time," she added with a haughty sniff that made it clear what she thought of that.
With that, she brought out the gifts and distributed them, and in no time, the children were tearing into theirs gleefully - and so were some of the adults.
"Ready for some more wine and food?" Serenus asked, nudging Tybalt playfully. "I hope you remembered to save room. We have quite a few houses to go."
Tybalt grinned, wrapping his arms around Serenus' waist and lifting him off the ground in a hug. "I'm always ready," he murmured, waggling his eyebrows lasciviously. "I'm a growing boy, remember? When we're done visiting and slaking our appetites for food, we can head back home and take care of any other appetites which may have arisen. Besides, I think it's time to stop practicing and start trying in earnest, don't you?"
Wrapping his arms around Tybalt's neck, Serenus held on as he was hoisted in the air and smiled. "Yes, I do," he murmured against Tybalt's lips before kissing him lightly. "In fact, I've already stopped taking the potion, so we definitely aren't just practicing anymore."
With a smile that could have illuminated an entire room, Tybalt bent his head to kiss Serenus, taking his time about it, not caring who was watching and ignoring Gaius' laughter. He pulled back, looking into Serenus' eyes with his own full of love. "We're going to make this the shortest round of visits in history," he murmured. "I'm ready to get started!"
"Then let us go," Serafina said, her eyes alight with mirth. "I will even help keep the visits short. Anything to speed along the arrival of another baby!"
"You heard her," Serenus said, amusement in his voice, and he wriggled to be put down. "Let's go!"
With a chuckle, Tybalt let Serenus down, took his hand, and whistled for the children. "All right, you lot, you heard the man. Last one out the door is aplimpy!" Then, tugging Serenus' hand, he made sure they were the first ones one their way.