Harry starts growing up.
Harry's first Christmas with Anna, Sirius, Nancy, and Remus was anticipated with pleasure and sadness. The adults remembered the previous Christmas, how happy their absent friends had been to shower their baby boy with presents and attention. Still, they decorated the house with cheer and delight, buying presents not only for Harry, but also each other. As the day drew near, muffled laughter and mischief-bright eyes could be found around every corner. Harry wasn't sure what was going on, but the cheer was infectious and he spent much of his time giggling and squirming with delight.
The big day arrived and their visitors arrived in time for lunch: Albus Dumbledore and Minerva McGonagall. Anna, who'd answered the door, flung herself at her parents with delight, greeting each of them with a hug that almost squeezed the breath out of them. Her parents returned the hugs just as tightly. Minerva's eyes were suspiciously moist and Albus' seemed brighter than usual.
After they entered, Anna found herself face-to-face with none other than Severus Snape, looking hesitant and wary. Her smile reminiscent of her father's, she gestured for him to enter. "Come on in, Severus. I was hoping you'd come."
"You're sure I'm welcome?" he asked, even as he carefully stepped inside, tugging at the collar of his shirt. Like Albus and Minerva, he had donned Muggle clothing because the area they were in was predominantly Muggle.
"Well, I doubt Sirius will be pleased, but he needs to learn to grow up anyway," Anna answered forthrightly, closing the door behind him.
"Snivellus!" Sirius' voice precluded any comment from the Potions Master. "What are you doing here?"
"He's here as a guest, Sirius," Anna stepped between the two men, blue eyes firm as they met Sirius' dark ones. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw her mother start forward, as if to mediate, except her father put his hand on her shoulder to stop her. "He's the reason we even knew Voldemort would attack Lily and James or Frank and Alice."
He gave a growl that was strongly reminiscent of his Animagus form. "He just wanted James out of the way so he could have Lily."
"Take that back, Black!" Snape snarled, pointing his wand at Sirius over Anna's shoulder.
Anna rolled her eyes as Sirius pointed his wand right back, glowering. "It's true and you know it!"
"Enough!" She reached up and calmly plucked their wands from their hands, handing them to her parents. "It's Christmas. We're supposed to be happy and we can't if you two are snarling at each other like dogs over a bone." Nancy and Remus, who'd arrived at some point while the two enemies were snarling at each other, hid smiles at the revolted expression that crossed Snape's face over Anna's rather apt description. "I don't care if you two ignore each other for the rest of the day, but there'll be no more fighting for the rest of the day. Understood?"
Stiffly, Severus answered, "I'll agree if Black agrees."
"Do I have to?" Sirius whined, half-playfully, half-seriously.
Remus stepped forward, grey eyes steady as they met his lover's. "Yes, Paddy, you do."
"Fine!" Huffing out a snort, Sirius turned and stormed off to the living room.
Smiling apologetically, Remus turned to Severus and offered his hand. "I'm sorry about Sirius, Severus. You know how he gets."
"I know how you get, too," Snape returned stiffly, refusing to shake Remus' hand. "Harry hasn't been bitten, has he?"
There was a loud crack as Anna's hand flashed up to slap Severus, startling everyone except Nancy and Remus. Though she didn't love her husband the way her mother loved her father, Anna was very protective of the werewolf. "You're no better than Sirius. Do you think Remus would stay if there was any chance he could hurt Harry?"
"Anna's right, Severus," Remus added quietly, his eyes steely as they met Snape's dark ones. "I would sooner kill myself than risk biting Harry."
After a few moments of silence, Albus stepped forward, the twinkle in his blue eyes looking rather forced. "Come, this is Christmas, a time for joy and happiness. Let's enjoy it, shall we?"
With murmurs of assent, they filed into the living room, where Sirius was busy playing with Harry. The little boy lit up when he saw Anna, Nancy, and Remus, waving at each of them. Then Albus and Minerva entered and he tilted his head curiously. "Who dey?"
"These people, Harry, are my parents," Anna explained, scooping up her godson and carrying him over to them. Behind her, Remus sat down beside Sirius and began to whisper softly to him, trying to calm him down and get him to lighten up. "Albus Dumbledore, and Minerva McGonagall."
Harry looked from one to the other, reaching up to pat Minerva's cheek and tug on Albus' beard. "Gramma Min? Grampa Albie?"
"If you like, Harry." There was a faint tremor in Albus' voice as Minerva gently took Harry from her daughter, her eyes suspiciously moist once again.
Bright green eyes met the dark green ones for several moments before he flung his tiny baby arms around her neck. "Me wike!"
"Thank ye, Harry-lad." Minerva's voice was choked as she returned the hug, smiling reassuringly at her husband as he gently stroked the boy's back with one hand.
He pulled back and looked around curiously, his eyes widening as they landed on Snape, who'd been hovering in the background, looking extremely uncomfortable. "Who you?"
"I am Severus Snape, Mr. Potter," the sallow man answered, edging closer, his eyes fixed on the boy's bright green ones. "I was a friend of your mother's."
Behind Anna, Sirius snorted, and then muttered, "Ow!" She glanced over her shoulder to see him rubbing the back of his head and glowering at Nancy, who was giving him a warning look.
Returning her attention to Harry and Severus, she watched as the little boy held out his arms to the cynical man. "Uncle Sev'us need hug. Harry give."
After glancing at the others, who nodded encouragingly, Severus gingerly held out his arms so Minerva could put Harry in them. When the boy looked as if he was going to fall, Snape quickly pulled him close. His dark eyes widened when the tiny arms encircled his neck, but then they closed as, with a sad smile, he returned the boy's hug.
The next morning, after their guests had returned to England, Sirius turned on Anna with a snarl worthy of his Animagus form, "Why did you have to go and invite Snivellus?"
"He loved Lily, Sirius," she answered, her growled answer reminding the others of her Animagus form. "Harry is all he has left of her. He deserves to spend time with him."
Sirius snorted again, tossing his head disdainfully. "It's more like he was obsessed with her than loved her."
"Whatever you want to call it, that's the reason he told Father about Voldemort possibly targeting James and Lily." Anna poked him in the chest. "He might not have liked James, but he cared too much about Lily to see her hurt."
Remus gently rested a hand on his lover's shoulder. "If not for him, they would never have gone into hiding. We'd have been caught completely unaware."
"Sirius, you're being unreasonable about Severus," Nancy added, gently cupping her husband's cheek. "By hating Dark Magic and everyone who practices it, you're letting your mother rule you still. Do you really want that?"
He sighed, turning his head to kiss Nancy's palm, and then Remus' hand on his shoulder. "I hate it when you talk sense into me."
They laughed and surrounded Sirius, hugging him tightly. Anna didn't delude herself into thinking that he'd given up his grudge for Severus all at once, but it he'd made a start and that's what counted.
At subsequent birthday and Christmas parties, Albus, Minerva, and Severus continued to join the others. Sirius never got along well with the Potions Master, but they learned to bury the hatchet, at least temporarily and not in each other's skulls. By the time Harry's second Christmas with his godparents arrived, it was clear that he was feeling a little overwhelmed by all the attention focused on him.
Luckily, the four adults had noticed this and come up with a solution. Once all of the gifts had been handed out and unwrapped, Anna announced it. "The four of us have a gift that hopefully everyone will be happy to share with us."
"What do you mean, Anna?" Albus asked, glancing curiously at the other three. "All the gifts have been distributed."
She smiled, patting his arm. "It's not one that can be unwrapped yet, Father."
"What is it, then?" Minerva raised an eyebrow at her daughter, dark green eyes suspicious as she glanced among her former students. Sirius looked smug, Nancy looked happy, and Remus looked nervous.
It wasn't Anna who answered, though. Severus had also looked at his former classmates and deduced what their expressions meant. "Anna or Nancy is pregnant."
"Both of us are, actually," Anna added, exchanging a look with Nancy that couldn't have been described as anything other than loving. "Nan is due around May or June. I'm due about August."
Minerva immediately pulled her daughter into a tight hug, her eyes suspiciously moist behind her square spectacles. Whispering for the young woman's ears alone, she asked, "Are you sure about this, Anna?"
"Yes, Mother." The daughter kissed her mother's cheek. "Harry needs siblings and we feel this is best."
Albus gently eased his daughter from Minerva's arms so they could see her dark blue eyes. His bright blue ones were serious as they met his daughter's. "That shouldn't be your only reason. You should want these children for their sake as well."
"We do, Father." She smiled, stroking his beard fondly. "Trust us."
Severus snorted. "Black with a child. I shudder to think what will happen." Without looking, Anna reached over and swatted his greasy head. "Ow!"
"Be nice, Severus. We may ask you to baby-sit." The horrified look on his face at the thought made everyone laugh.
On June 15, 1983, Nancy gave birth to a boy. Sirius refused to follow the Black naming traditions. Instead, he chose to name his son Andrew Alphard Black. The first name referred to his favourite cousin, Andromeda, and the middle name to his uncle, who had given him money when he ran away from home. Andrew fascinated Harry, now almost four years old. He could spend hours watching him. This relieved the adults because they worried that Harry would resent the intruder. Especially when everyone seemed to pay more attention to him than to Harry at his birthday party. Andrew's eyes were open by then and he gazed at everything and everyone around him with great solemnity. Sirius insisted it was Nancy's fault that Andrew was so serious.
Then Anna gave birth to a girl on August 20, 1983. She and Remus decided to name her Renee Ariana Lupin. When Minerva heard, she was greatly flattered and touched, dark green eyes unusually moist. Albus was too choked up by the reference to his sister to do anything except kiss his daughter's forehead with a shaky smile. Anna understood and kissed his whiskery cheek with a warm smile. He stroked the girl's fuzzy auburn hair with fondness, amused that she'd manage to inherit his hair colour.
Despite the two new babies in the house, taking up the attention of his guardians, Harry wasn't jealous at all. He loved Andrew and Renee very much and helped take care of both of them. Anna, walking past the nursery, heard him promise, "I'll be the bestest big brother in the whole world. I promise."
She stole away before he saw her there, but she only went far enough to find Nancy, holding her lover close.
Harry didn't think there was anything unusual about having two 'mothers' and two 'fathers'. Until he started kindergarten at the local elementary school, that is. One of the first assignments was for each student to draw a picture of their family. The teacher moved around the room, studying each of the students' pictures as they worked. She paused when she saw Harry's drawing. "Um, Harry?"
"Yes, Miss Trenton?" He glanced up at her briefly before returning his attention to the picture, adding more black.
She frowned a little as she studied the picture. "I wanted you to just draw the people who live with you."
"I am." He paused and looked up at her, bright green eyes puzzled behind his glasses. "This is Aunt Nancy, Aunt Anna, Uncle Sirius, and Uncle Remus, and me in the middle with Andy and Renee."
Gladys Trenton sat down in the seat next to Harry. "What about your mom and dad? Where are they?"
"They died when I was little," he explained calmly, sadness flashing briefly across his face as he used a blue crayon to carefully fill in Anna's shirt. "Aunt Anna and Uncle Sirius are my godparents."
She frowned even more as she watched him add glasses around Anna's eyes in the drawing. "Didn't your parents have any brothers and sisters?"
"Mum did, Dad didn't." He didn't glance at his teacher, his face carefully blank.
Gladys made a mental note to make a couple phone calls. "Why aren't you with your mother's family, then?"
"Uncle Sirius called Aunt Petunia a bad word and Aunt Anna said she wouldn't have liked me at all." Harry's voice was so matter-of-fact that Gladys decided to drop that line of questioning.
She decided on a new line of questioning. "So, do you like living with your Aunt Nancy, Aunt Anna, Uncle Sirius, and Uncle Remus?"
"Oh, yeah." He nodded vigorously, his young face lighting up. "It's the best."
She patted his shoulder. "Okay. I'll leave you to it."
"Okay." He barely glanced up as he filled in the coiled object around his arm in the picture with orange, black, and white.
When Harry got home, he asked why four adults in his 'family picture' would have surprised the teacher. Anna sat him down on the couch to explain. "In most families, the kids have just their mom and dad, and a couple brothers and sisters. They wouldn't have an aunt and uncle, too."
"So, why do I have two sets of 'parents'?" Harry asked the question in all innocence, looking up at his godmother with eyes that reminded her so much of her best friend that it brought a lump to her throat.
She cleared her throat, glancing over at Nancy, who was seated nearby, listening quietly. Blue eyes met grey-green, asking a silent question. The brunette glanced at Harry, and then nodded slightly, answering the question. "Well, part of it is that we all love you very much, Harry."
"I know /that/," Harry interrupted, rolling his eyes with fond exasperation. "What's the rest of it?"
At a glance from Anna, Nancy got up and perched on the arm of the couch by her lover, resting her hand on her shoulder. The dark-haired woman reached up and covered that hand with hers. "The rest is that I love Nancy and Uncle Sirius loves Uncle Remus."
"I figured that out ages ago." The little boy informed them with an exasperated look. At their surprised expressions, he explained. "You don't kiss Uncle Remus the way Mum and Dad do in their pictures."
While Anna struggled to find her voice, Nancy asked, "Why don't you think that Anna loves Sirius instead?"
"If she did, why would she have married Uncle Remus?" Harry asked with all the assurance of his five years.
The two women exchanged startled glances. They certainly hadn't expected Harry to figure it out by himself. Of course, Lily had been amazingly perceptive, even in their early years at Hogwarts. She was the first of the three of them to figure out that Remus wasn't what he seemed to be. That perceptivity had apparently been passed on to her son. "I'm glad that you figured it out, Harry, but you can't tell anyone this."
"Why not?" He frowned, looking puzzled by the thought.
She drew him close, gently stroking his perpetually tousled hair. "Not everyone approves of two women loving each other like Nancy and I do, or of two men."
"That's stupid," he declared, looking annoyed even as he cuddled against her.
Anna and Nancy laughed, hugging Harry between them. "Yes, we agree, it's very stupid."
He sighed and decided to give up on understanding grown-ups for the time being.
The next stir Harry caused was the day he was allowed to take a pet to school with him. Sirius had offered to go with his godson as Padfoot, but the other three had said no. This also meant Harry couldn't take Anna in her Animagus form (the Marauders had named her Midnight shortly after seeing her change). That left him to take the snake he'd gotten for his fifth birthday. A corn snake, it had led to the discovery of the fact that Harry was a Parselmouth.
They'd decided to get him a proper pet, so he wouldn't have to keep asking Sirius or Anna to change if he wanted to play with one. After asking Minerva to baby-sit, the four adults took Harry to the pet store. Sirius, naturally, had wandered to the puppy section while Anna had gravitated to the kittens. Remus and Nancy stayed with Harry, following him to the reptile cages. Both watched with surprise as the almost-five-year-old started hissing at one of the snakes. He paused and tilted his head, as if listening to the snake inside. After several more moments, Harry turned to the two adults with a grin. "I want this one!"
"Are you sure you want a snake, Harry?" Remus asked quietly, moving forward to peer at the sign by the cage. It indicated that the snake inside was a corn snake, one of the best to buy if you hadn't had a pet snake before.
"Definitely." Harry nodded, absently pushing his glasses up his nose in a move that reminded Remus so much of James that he couldn't speak for a moment. "Mace said he wants to go home with me."
Remus was only vaguely aware that Nancy had left, probably to get Sirius and Anna. "You can talk to him?"
"Yeah. Can't you?" The green eyes were puzzled behind Harry's glasses as he looked back at the cage. He tilted his head again, clearly listening. "Oh, Mace just told me that not everyone can talk with snakes."
The werewolf nodded, glancing briefly over his shoulder when the others' unique scents reached his nose. "That's right, but we can get you the snake if you really want to."
"Thanks, Uncle Moony!" Harry flung his arms around Remus' neck, hugging him tightly.
He returned the hug with a lump in his throat. It'd been a long time since Harry had called him that. After a short discussion amongst the four adults, they bought the snake and all the accoutrements that went with him. Though none of them had planned on a snake for Harry, they'd promised him whichever pet he wanted. That included snakes.
When Harry took Mace to school, the boys thought he had the coolest pet ever while the girls refused to come near him with Mace coiled around his arm. It disrupted school so much that Harry was sent home early. Sirius claimed it was the happiest moment of his life. Nancy mildly commented that Harry hadn't been sent home for pranking someone. "Not yet, but this is a good start."
His wife had simply sighed, cuffed him on the back of the head, and left to check on Andrew and Renee. Sirius watched her go with a pout, and then left to find Remus. Maybe he would be sympathetic.
Harry continued to grow and Albus, Minerva, and Severus continued to visit for Harry's birthdays and Christmas. Though, the birthday parties tended to be for all three children as Andrew and Renee grew older. The summer that Harry turned seven and Andrew and Renee turned three, Nancy received a letter from England, informing her that her parents, who hadn't spoken to her since she'd finished at Hogwarts, had died. As their only child, everything they'd had was hers. She needed to go to England to take care of it. That was one of the few times she and Anna disagreed about something. "I don't want anything from them."
"Why? They were still your parents." Anna was glad Sirius and Remus were watching the children. "They must have still cared about you if they'd left everything to you."
Nancy shook her head, her expression mulish. "They stopped being my parents the moment they refused to have anything to do with me because I love you."
"You can't tell me you stopped loving them." The taller woman rested her hand on her lover's shoulder. "No matter how annoyed or frustrated I get with my parents, I never forget that they are my parents and I do love them."
The brunette shook off the hand on her shoulder, turning to Anna with a sardonic look in her grey-green eyes. "You can't understand, Anna. Your parents don't mind that you love a woman. Mine did/. They talked about putting me through all kinds of tests, maybe take me to therapy. They wanted to /fix me. You can't imagine what that was like."
"You're right, I can't." She gently gripped Nancy's shoulders. "What I do know is that you'd be stooping to their level if you let your bitterness keep you from acknowledging that they did care for you in the end. No matter what they thought of your sexual orientation, they made sure you would be provided for once they were gone."
The shorter woman sighed, smiling wryly. "Isn't normally me who talks sense into you when you get an unreasonable idea into your head?"
Laughing, Anna drew her lover into her arms for a hug. "Yes, but we're all allowed to be unreasonable from time to time."
"I suppose the next question is whether I should do this on my own, or if everyone should come." Nancy returned the hug with a sigh.
She shook her head. "You're mad if you think we're going to let you do this on your own."
"Well, I expected you to insist on coming with me, but do you think Sirius and Remus would want to go too?" The brunette tilted her head curiously as she met her lover's eyes.
Anna raised a black eyebrow wryly. "Remus told me that Sirius has been missing England for a long time. He'd jump at the chance to go."
"And you can't have Padfoot without Moony," Nancy added with a laugh, reaching up to stroke Anna's cheek.
Catching her lover's hand, the taller woman turned her head to kiss the palm. "I think we're all going to end up going with you."
"I think you're right," the shorter woman agreed, stretching up to kiss her lover softly.
Anna returned the kiss with pleasure and no further words were spoken for a while.