Chapter 13 : Chapter 13: October 1984: Good and Bad Tidings
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Good and Bad Tidings
October 14, 1984
The Blacks had just returned from worship services at the small chapel in Hogsmeade. Anwen wasn't quite used to the Presbyterian services, but it was the only church close by. Remus and Eva as well as the Longbottom Family had attended services with them. They'd nearly doubled the worshiping congregation when the families had begun worshiping there in the fall. Anwen felt it was important to continue life as normally as possible, even if the family was constantly surrounded by Aurors when they ventured out of the castle. They were pleasantly surprised to find several students who also walked down from Hogwarts to attend weekly, and their sons, as well as the Longbottom children, had taken to three of the girls who were among the group.
Beatrice Smythe, a fifth year Ravenclaw; Lauren Hopper, a sixth year Hufflepuff and Tibby Trent, a fourth year Gryffindor and distant cousin of Sirius' often helped to occupy the children's attention when the services lagged, or the message became too long. After confirming their character with Minerva, Anwen also used the girls as occasional sitters for her sons; when she and Sirius were both called away from them at the same time.
Life in the castle, while strange at times, was also pleasant for the Black family. The boys were generally spoiled by student and staff alike, and Sirius was pleasantly surprised how enjoyable he found teaching. With the assistance of Anwen, he'd created innovative ways to approach his lessons, and his students responded with enthusiasm. There was a lightness to Sirius which pleased his wife immensely. Even with the turmoil swirling around them, they were generally happy.
The Marauder family would be joining them for brunch this morning, the Potter's Flooing over to join the rest after they'd walked back up from the village.
"Mummy," Draco beckoned. "Did the minister really mean we have to forgive everyone who has done something bad to us?"
Anwen looked down at her son. "Yes, sweetheart. We should do our best to forgive everyone. It's what God wants us to do."
"Oh," the boy replied, a very serious look on his young face. "Even if what they did was very, very bad?" Anwen had to think about her answer. She knew in her own life there were people she'd never forgiven for acts against her, and she doubted she ever would. This sons biological parents were among them.
"Draco, my little love, God would always want us to forgive," she began. "However, sometimes forgiveness is not ours to give. The act against us is simply too bad. It is then that we must pray to God, and ask the Creator to do the forgiving for us, in God's own time. I know it's hard, my sweet, but we should always find some way to forgive others." The little boy thought about his mother's words a moment.
"So, I have to forgive Harry for smashing my dragon the other day?" he asked.
"Yes, that was an accident, and Harry felt badly about it. I would hope you forgive him while he's over today," his mother replied. He wrinkled his lips in a slightly disappointed way, shrugged and then skipped ahead to catch up with Neville and Bastien who were walking with the Hogwarts girls. When he was gone, Anwen stopped stifling her laughter.
"You are so very good with them," Sirius told her as he wrapped his arm over her shoulders and kissed her crown. "And you're going to be with our newest little one as well." His other hand moved across his wife's slowly expanding midsection. They were well past the three month mark, nearing the halfway mark of their pregnancy. Past the point where miscarriage was likely. The meal they were sharing with their family would provide an opportunity to share the news. Sirius was nearly giddy with the opportunity to finally do so.
Eva and Alice watched Sirius's actions, and turned to each other and smiled. They'd suspected for months now that Anwen was with child, but since neither she nor Sirius had mentioned it, her girlfriends had not raised the question. They all knew there was worry that the internal injuries the young witch had sustained after the Great Battle would make childbearing problematic or impossible. None wanted to cause Anwen any sadness if it could be avoided, hence their not speaking of it.
"Why don't you just turn around and yell it out, here in the middle of the road," Anwen taunted. "Your hand constantly rubbing my belly is just as obvious of a signal."
"No, my dear little one, this is an obvious signal," he playfully taunted before he reached under her robes, lifted the edge of the dark brown jumper and kissing her protruding belly. "Daddy loves you, sweet baby."
"I knew it," Eva cheered before dropping her husband's hand and coming over to hug the pair. "When are you due?"
"The end of March," Anwen replied after her friend released her from the jubilant embrace. "Before we say any more, our boys deserve to know they're going to become big brothers. Can we wait to discuss this further, until we've reached our quarters?"
The Longbottoms and Lupins agreed, although the smiles on all six adult faces were broad and their eyes were twinkling as they approached the castle and went inside. Brunch was made by Kreacher, happy to be put to work by his master and enjoying the company of the Hogwarts castle elves. Bastien and Draco made sure to share the news with the other children, and their Grandma Mimi. With the meal now over, the children had taken to the boys' bedroom, while the adults were in the sitting room.
"Let me give you the name of my Obstri-witch," Lily said. "She was wonderful with Evan's delivery."
"Thank you, but I won't be needing it. I have every intention of delivering this child in Paris," Anwen explained. "My healer there has already been in contact with Poppy for my weekly check-ups."
"Paris? Why would you be going to Paris to have your child? St. Mungo's is one of the finest wizarding facilities in the world," Lily questioned. Sirius stood and walked over to Anwen's chair, seating himself on the arm while wrapping his arm around his wife.
"This isn't the first time Anwen has been with child," he explained. "We've lost three infants before. Before we returned to England in the spring, Anwen underwent a procedure. It was experimental in nature but it was our last hope. It would have either made it possible for her to have a child, or it would have led to their removing her..." he paused, looking somewhat uncomfortable. "...organs. She needs to continue with her healer in Paris, as he's the only one who can fully understand what she's been through." The room was quiet, the friends all staring at the couple.
"What did they do to you?" Eva finally asked.
Anwen took a deep breath before speaking. "The problem I had been having was my uterus' inability to stretch; there was simply too much scar tissue. In the surgery they used magic to force my body to grow, and as they did, the scars were scraped off. It was miraculous that I didn't rupture. Our child is a truly a blessing."
"Anwen, why didn't you tell us?" Lily asked. "We would have come and helped you."
"I was well cared for, and I recuperated at the Le Jardin de la Cygne. The Cygne estate is fully staffed, and Sirius hired a medi-witch to stay with me around the clock," she explained. "I didn't want anyone to know. If it hadn't worked … I needed my sorrow to be mine alone. Thankfully, it has worked. Given the circumstances, however, I will give birth and go through my churching in France."
The pitter-patter of small feet effectively ended the conversation, but many questions remained in all but the Black's minds.
October 30, 1984:
"Come on, Draco. Mummy say we can walk to Daddy's room. The bell rang, he's done teaching," Bastien said, grabbing his brother's hand. The boys liked to walk the short distance from the family's quarters to their father's classroom. They'd walked it many times with their parents, and they were now allowed to walk it alone.
"I'm coming, Bas. I want to tell Daddy I got another toof," Draco announced. Their Mummy opened the door and they walked out hand in hand.
For the most part, the students at Hogwarts enjoyed having the boys in the castle. Besides their three sitters, there were girls in every house who would gush over every little thing the boys did. There were boys, too, who liked the lads, and would often take them out to fly or engage in other sports. Draco and Bas Black had several hundred de-facto older siblings.
There were, however, students who were not happy to see Sirius Black as a professor, his Mudblood wife walking around the castle and the boys being raised by a blood-traitor and his tainted wife. Two of them walked around the corner, and ran into the children on their way to see their father.
"Hello, Bastien. Hello, Draco," Cassiopeia Flint said in a cloying sweet, sing-songy voice. "Where are you two headed?"
"We're off to see our Daddy and walk him home to have supper," Draco replied.
"He's not your daddy," Raelene Rosier corrected. "Your real father is in Azkaban and your real mother is working on getting you back."
"My Mummy lives in the castle with us. She's a very powerful and good witch!" Draco said back, getting upset at the girls' words. He remembered the fire, and being left with his Mummy and Daddy, but little from before. His parents always told him they were lucky the little boy had come to live with them and love them. Draco felt tears starting to form in his eyes. He didn't like thinking about the fire or not having his Mum and Dad.
"Don't pick on my brother!" Bas yelled, stepping in front of Draco. No one made his brother cry.
"Oh, be quiet, little bastard," Cassiopeia spat. "You shouldn't even be on the family tree. Blood-traitor's son."
"I not a bastard, I'm Bastien!" The girls laughed at the young pair.
"He doesn't even know that he's a bastard!" Raelene cackled. "It means your father had the good sense to be with a real witch, rather than that idiot Mudblood he married."
"What's going on here?" a strong voice said from behind the girls. The little boys looked up and saw Ron's big brothers, Bill and Charlie, standing together in their more casual robes, Bill's broom in hand. They looked as if they were headed to the Quidditch pitch for some pre-dinner flying practice.
"Nothing you need to be concerned with," Raelene said in a disgusted tone. The two little boys, however, ran over to the older brothers, hiding behind their legs from the girls. Charlie and Bill, seeing the impending tears in the little ones' eyes, immediately picked them up.
"Of course the boys would be friendly with the Weasleys," Cassiopeia remarked. "I guess blood-traitors need to stay together." The Slytherin girls laughed.
"I'd rather have them look to Bill and Charlie as their role models than to have them emulate either of you," Sirius said as he walked closer. It hadn't taken him long to deduce what had been happening. "It's embarrassing to admit either of you are blood relations."
"Daddy," both boys cried out together.
"Bill, Charlie, would you mind taking them back to my quarters, and then will you go get Professor Slughorn for me, please?" Sirius asked.
"Of course, professor," Bill answered, and he and Charlie made a hasty departure.
"Ladies, I am not certain what transpired here, but it would appear you were harassing not only other students, but my very young children as well. Certainly you must recall what the Headmaster said at the beginning of term regarding the bullying of other students?" Sirius was working very hard to control his tongue and tone.
"We were doing nothing more than letting the children know how we were related to them. After all, one is a Malfoy and the other is a Black. They're both pure-bloods, and deserve to know what their blood status affords them," Cassiopeia sweetly answered.
"My children do not need lessons in family from either of you," Sirius replied through gritted teeth. He was thankfully spared from any more words from the girls by the arrival of their head of house.
"Professor Black, I was informed that you needed me," the potions master spoke as he neared. While in school, Horace Slughorn had attempted to 'collect' Sirius, just as he'd done with his younger brother, Reg. However, like James, Lily and Anwen, he never fully fell under the professor's spell. Now as colleagues, Sirius was certain the Slytherin head was somewhat intimidated by him.
"These two students were caught taunting the Weasley brothers who had come to the aid of my young sons. Miss Flint and Miss Rosier had taken it upon themselves to educate my children about blood status," Sirius explained.
"Oh, dear," Horace replied as he wrung his hands.
"They will be serving detention will me every night for the next week, as well as being docked fifty points each; however, I am certain you will want to reiterate the school's policy on hazing and tolerance for all witches and wizards," Sirius spoke in a tone which left no question as to the importance of the situation.
"Of course," the potions master hastily replied.
"Should you need any assistance, I am quite certain the headmaster would be willing to give the lesson, perhaps to the whole house."
"Yes, yes. I think the whole house should spend some time thinking on this. Come along girls." Slughorn nearly pulled them away. Sirius took a deep breath and hastily walked to his quarters. The Weasley boys were slipping out his door when he arrived.
"We stayed until Aunt Anwen got them calmed down," Bill explained. "I'm sorry we didn't get there faster, Uncle Sirius." The boys only used the less formal terms when they were visiting socially. Sirius put a hand on each of the boys' shoulders and gave them a squeeze.
"It wasn't your fault. Thank you for getting involved when you did. Twenty points for each of you to Gryffindor for your bravery. I'll see you both in class tomorrow."
"Thanks, Uncle Sirius," Charlie said before they strode off. Sirius eased into his apartment, seeing Anwen and the boys sitting on the sofa in front of a roaring fire.
"Why she say you not my Mummy?" Draco asked and Anwen gently smiled at him and brushed his tears away.
"Draco, Bastien," she gently said, looking at each of the boys who sat on either side of her. "I wasn't fortunate enough to grow either of you in me, like I'm doing with your little brother or sister. Instead, someone else took care of it for Daddy and me. But when you were born, God brought each of you into our family, and let us have the honor of raising you."
"Do you love the baby more than us?" he followed up.
"No, I love all of you so much I think sometimes I will burst apart because I can't hold all my love inside."
"But, she said my other Mummy wants me back. I don't want to go!" he pleaded, a new round of tears starting.
"You don't have to," Sirius stated as he strode toward them. Both boys scrambled off the sofa and ran to their father. Sirius bent down and lifted his children up, holding one in each arm. "You are our son, and you always will be. No one will ever make you leave."
"You love Mummy, right? Even though I a bas...bast...what was that word?" Bas asked.
"That word isn't important," Sirius said firmly, knowing what word he was trying to remember. "All you both need to know is that Mummy and I love you, and we will always love you."
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