Chapter 1 : Really done
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Teddy Lupin was stretched out on a lawn chair in his backyard, watching his children. He could see all six of them at once, and they were all extremely noisy at that moment. Thirteen year old Remus, his eldest, was yelling from an upstairs window down at his younger siblings. Eleven year old Johnny was standing on the ground next to nine year old Dora, arguing back up at him. The other three – seven year old Liam, five year old Fleur, and two year old Arthur – were running in circles in the snow, occasionally shoving one another into the drifts, all the while shrieking at the top of their lungs.
It seemed almost as if there were more than six of them.
Teddy hauled himself to his feet and came inside, where his wife was in the kitchen supervising the preparation of the evening's meal. There was a lot of food required to feed six children, two of them teenage boys. Victoire, his darling wife and mother of his children, looked rather harassed.
“There won't be any carrots in tonight's meal,” she informed him peevishly. “They're all gone. I asked Liam to go easy on them, but he ate the entire bag anyway. We'll have to make do with peas.”
Teddy had long ago lost interest in the finer details of what he ate. He trusted Victoire's cooking prowess and ate whatever she put in front of him. Right now, it was the least of his concerns.
“I'm done,” he told her.
“What?” she snapped, turning to him with her wand still raised from setting the knives chopping potatoes.
“I'm done. No more kids. I'm done.”
“Oh thank God,” Victoire said with heartfelt emotion. “I'm beyond done.”
Behind them, Remus started throwing Johnny's dirty laundry out the window. It had been collecting for weeks, since they'd come home for the holidays, and Remus was apparently at the end of his rope with the piles of dirty clothing in the room they shared. Johnny came storming through the house, slamming the door and leaving a trail of melting snow behind him, to dash up the stairs and attack his brother.
“Done,” Teddy repeated.
A thud came from upstairs, then a loud shout of, “No, Remus!”
“Why are you both such jerks?” came the soprano of his eldest daughter from outside. “Ew, Johnny, this underwear is nasty! What is wrong with you?”
“Really done,” said Victoire.
***two weeks later***
Teddy dropped his two eldest sons at King's Cross to return to school without involving the circus that was taking the entire family along. Though it had caused an endless stream of complaints from his second son, who liked to make everything his own personal reality show starring Johnny Lupin, it was for the best. They'd nearly missed the train when dropping the boys for the beginning of term. Nobody needed the same production repeated for the return from Christmas break. Teddy left them with the usual instructions not to punch, kick, hit, slap, poke, elbow, knee, headbutt, or otherwise touch each other on the train to school, no matter the provocation. Honestly, if he had one more note home, he was going to restrict them both from coming home for Easter.
They both looked disgruntled, which Teddy always interpreted these days to mean he was parenting correctly. When no one was happy, it meant he'd done it right. If one child had a smug smile, he'd usually missed something.
He returned home to find Dora in the bathroom, examining her appearance minutely with her younger sister beside her, also staring in the mirror. He passed by without comment, as that was his wife's area of expertise. The closer Dora got to being a teenager, the more wary Teddy became of saying anything to her about her obsession with her appearance. Fleur was even more picky about her clothes than Dora was. It was exhausting to Teddy, who did not want to discuss skirts and dresses and shades of pink at length.
Victoire was in their room, sitting on the bed next to a mountain of clean but unfolded laundry. She had a blank look on her face, staring at the painting of their no-longer-small family on the wall, and Teddy was immediately wary.
“Who did what?” he asked, inexactly. It was the best he could do grammatically. Someone had clearly done something, from the look on her face.
“You did,” Victoire said, and he realized there was something in her hand.
They stared at each other. Victoire tossed the pregnancy test in the rubbish.
“After this, we're done,” she told him firmly, shaking a finger at him.
“One more, then.” Teddy sighed in resignation.
“One more.” And Victoire set the laundry folding itself, gave him a peck on the cheek, and went back to work.
Teddy sat down on the bed and watched the laundry folding and stacking itself into neat piles of shirts, trousers, and unidentified pink objects that his daughters wore. One more, and then that was it. He could manage one more. But that was all. Seven was plenty for anyone. His wife's grandparents had raised seven and they were still sane. Surely he could manage it as well. Seven was a Quidditch team, he told himself. Buck up.
***seven months later***
“Do not let anyone injure each other,” Teddy informed his eldest son. “Johnny is confined to his room. Do not hex him if he comes out. In fact, everyone can bloody well stay in their rooms until we're back.”
“Dad,” Remus said in that drawn-out not-quite-a-whine he had perfected since turning twelve, pulling a long-suffering face. “I know what I'm doing.”
“Right,” Teddy said warily.
“Teddy! We're going to be late!” his wife shouted from the living room.
“We'll be back in about an hour,” Teddy added to his eldest son, then bellowed to the house at large, “Everyone behave themselves!”
He tromped downstairs and joined his wife, who had her arms folded over her large belly and was tapping her foot impatiently.
“They'll be fine, Remus is very responsible,” she assured him. “You don't need to lecture him. We'll hardly be gone for a moment.”
Teddy tossed a handful of Floo powder into the fireplace, and Victoire stepped into the green flames, calling the name of her midwife's offices.
When Teddy got there a moment after her, Victoire was already hopping up on the examination table. Well, not so much hopping these days, because she was very large with this pregnancy, so she only managed to flop onto the table rather like a beached whale. The midwife, who'd delivered all six of the Lupin children, bustled in with a chart in one hand and her wand in the other.
“And how are we today?” the midwife asked kindly.
“Huge, hot, and uncomfortable,” Victoire answered, finally managing to get both legs up on the table.
The midwife smiled sympathetically. “Not unexpected at this stage of pregnancy, as you well know. You said you wanted to know the gender this time? You never wanted to find out with any of your other babies.”
“This is our last one. I want to know which set of baby clothes we can get rid of, the girl clothes or the boy clothes.” Victoire stretched out, her belly rising straight up like a mountain. Possibly a volcano, knowing how Lupin genes combined with Weasley genes.
“Well then, let's have a look.” The midwife pulled out one of her silvery instruments, most of which Teddy still didn't entirely understand or know the names of, and placed it on Victoire's belly, where it began whirring inexplicably.
“A boy would be nice,” Teddy remarked. “We could name him for my godfather.”
“A girl will even the odds a bit around the house,” Victoire said.
This was true. At the moment they had four boys and two girls, which left the girls outnumbered. Teddy wasn't so sure he could handle another daughter, though. He often felt he didn't know what to do with them, having grown up without sisters. His godfather's daughter was almost ten years younger than him, and she was the closest thing to a sister he'd ever had. He'd spent more time with his godfather's two sons. Teddy was far more secure parenting boys. Preventing anyone from getting seriously injured when fistfights broke out was the key, really. When multiple healing spells were required, or worse, a trip to St. Mungo's, then his wife got quite testy.
Besides, if it was another boy, it would round out Teddy's personal Quidditch team nicely. Remus would be the team captain, of course, and the Keeper. Liam and Arthur would be Beaters. Johnny would probably play Seeker, since he always had to be the star of anything he did. The girls would be Chasers, and the new baby could be trained up to be the third Chaser. He supposed a girl would do just as well, though, and pictured a trio of athletic girls with red hair flying in formation.
“Let's see what we have here,” the midwife said then, interrupting Teddy's fantasy of Lupin family Quidditch fame.
She tapped her wand on the silver instrument, and two small yellow spheres rose from the tip of it, circling around each other.
“Oh my,” said the midwife, her eyebrows raised.
“Does that mean boy or girl?” Teddy asked warily.
“Girl. Two girls, in fact,” she told them, plucking the silver thing off Victoire's belly. “Fraternal twins. You saw the two circles. Identical twins show as a single circle that splits.”
Teddy and Victoire stared at her. Teddy's brain felt fuzzy and his tongue heavy. He wondered if he was having a stroke.
“We already have two girls,” he managed.
“Well, you're about to have two more,” the midwife informed him.
“Bloody hell,” said Victoire. She put a hand to her eyes.
Teddy tried to break out of his stupor. “But... We said one more...”
Victoire began to laugh. Her belly shook with it. Teddy stared at her as her face flushed and she struggled to sit up. The midwife seemed to realize he was too stunned to help his wife and hurried to her side to assist. Victoire was still laughing as she slid off the table to her feet.
“We said one more,” she chuckled, obviously mimicking him, wiping her eyes a bit. “We already have two girls. Oh, Teddy. You're an idiot.”
“Galloping gargoyles,” Teddy muttered to himself while his wife discussed nutrition with the midwife.
More girls. They were having more girls. He was about to be a father to four daughters and four sons. The mental image of a set of seven Quidditch players changed as he realized they'd be able to field four-a-side Quidditch. Two small Quidditch teams, comprised entirely of his children. Maybe the twins could be Beaters like their great-uncles had been.
As they made their way to the fireplace to go home shortly afterward, Victoire gave him a pat on the shoulder.
“Two more then,” she said, still smiling. He knew it was at his expense, but he was still too shocked to mind.
“Two more,” he agreed.
Two more babies. They were about to have eight children.