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"Uncle Severus!" the children yelled as they ran into his house.
They latched onto his legs and squeezed him tight. He laughed and embraced them in return. "Hey you two! I missed you."
"We missed you too," Margarita answered.
"Are you out of jail for good?" Scorpius asked.
"Until the trial I will be, Snape replied.
"Yay!" They cheered as he released them.
Severus looked up and saw a glowing and slightly heavier Ginny. He smiled. "Hello Ginevra," he began.
She smiled as her eyes watered. "I'm sorry I couldn't be there for the venue or bail hearing. Morning sickness has been hell."
"It's quite forgivable. Do you need a place to sit?" Snape asked.
"Can I show you my hexes?" Scorpius asked before his mother could answer.
"Can I show you a new dance I made up?" Margarita asked.
"You promised that I could make a new potion! Can I?" Scorpius fired off.
"Ooh! You have to see the picture I made for you!" Margarita replied as she pulled out a crumpled piece of paper from her coat pocket.
"No! He wants to see my hex first!" Scorpius answered. "Are there any reporters?"
Snape laughed at their eagerness as Ginny sighed. "Let's go upstairs so your mother can sit down. Then, I can see what you two have been doing."
"Yes, but are we going to make a potion?" Scorpius asked.
"Children!" Ginny began in a loud firm voice. The children looked up at her. "Let's let Severus decide what he wants to do. We can't do everything today."
"Well, we can try," Snape replied with a playful smirk on his face.
"Yes!" Scorpius yelled.
"But first we're going to the living room so your mother can sit down. She's probably tired of standing," Snape replied.
The children raced upstairs. Ginny laughed and embraced Snape. "They haven't been this happy in ages."
"I've honestly never been happier to see them," Snape replied as he helped Ginny up the stairs. "Tell me, how have you been feeling?"
"Oh, not too bad… just pregnant. As sick as I've been, it's actually better than when I had Margarita."
"You were a wreck with her," Snape replied.
Ginny laughed as they reached the top of the stairs. "I honestly don't know how my own mother did it, not just carrying all of us but controlling us as well. It's hard enough for me to control Scorpius and Margarita on a good day. I still don't know how I'll control three."
"You'll find a way," Snape answered as they entered the living room.
She smiled. "I suppose so. At least now I can bribe the children with trips to Uncle Severus' house."
"For a time anyway," Snape replied.
"Oh don't give me that! You know you'll be free soon, you'll..."
Ginny then stopped and looked around. Rather than being arranged in a circle as she was accustomed to, the chairs were arranged in an odd assortment which vaguely resembled a courtroom. Snape noticed her bewilderment. "Hermione wants me to practice not scowling at Mr. Conway, so she rearranged the chairs. If you want, I can put them back," he replied.
"No, it's fine," Ginny replied, trying to keep her feelings towards Hermione under control as to avoid explaining her feelings regarding Hermione in front of her children.
Her eyes went from shimmering in happiness to dead, almost as if she was remembering something. Her mouth opened slightly as her face went pale. Snape was about ready to call Filbert for a glass of water before Ginny muttered, "I can sit here!"
She sat at the chair used for the judge. Her face had returned to normal, but he could see a hint of pain in her eyes. Before he could ask what was wrong, Scorpius rushed in front of Severus and asked, "Can I show you my hexes now?"
"What about my picture and my dance?" Margarita asked as she ran behind him.
"Okay, let me see your picture," Snape answered.
Ginny's eyes lit up again, as though she had never reacted to the mention of Hermione's name. "It's a beautiful drawing," Ginny replied.
Snape knelt down and took the drawing from Margarita. He unfolded the paper and saw the drawing of him standing beside a house, smiling. Scorpius was in the background shooting hexes while Margarita was holding Snape's hand. "It's a very beautiful picture."
"Thank you!" she replied with a proud smile.
"Now can I hex something?" Scorpius asked.
"Scorpius!" Ginny scolded.
Snape suppressed a chuckle and replied, "It's okay. He's been waiting all week. Sparky!"
Pop! "Yes Master?" he asked.
"Please bring up some of those old boxes I've been telling you to save."
"Yes Master!" he replied.
With a POP Sparky was gone. Then he returned with some boxes. Scorpius' eyes lit up in joy. "Thank you!" he replied.
"I know a few too!" Margarita replied.
"There are plenty of boxes," Snape replied. "And if Scorpius destroys them all, then I can repair a few and let you practice."
Margarita smiled and nodded. "Come here sweetie," Ginny began in a gentle but firm voice. "Let's give Scorpius some room."
Margarita obeyed and sat on her mother's lap. Snape smiled, noting how Margarita was beginning to become just a tad too big for her perch. Ginny didn't seem to mind however. She adjusted her daughter until they were both comfortable. Meanwhile, Sparky set up the boxes as Scorpius looked on eagerly.
After Sparky was done, he disappeared. Severus then began, "show me what you've got Scorpius!"
"Okay!" he yelled before hexing a box into oblivion.
The others cheered as he decimated a few boxes. Then, Severus replied, "Okay, but can you hit this?"
Scorpius noticed a box floating slightly off the ground. His eyes widened as Severus smirked. Then, the box shifted to the side. Scorpius tried to hit the box but missed, leaving a black smudge mark on Snape's wall. He blushed. "Don't' worry," Severus replied, "they'll come off. Keep trying."
More determined now than ever, Scorpius continued trying to hit the box. Finally, he hit it. Everyone cheered as it exploded into pieces. "I did it!" Scorpius exclaimed with more than a hint of pride in his voice.
"Why don't we let Margarita try to hit one now?" Ginny asked.
"Okay," Scorpius answered.
Margarita hopped off Ginny's lap as Scorpius sat on the chair used for the jury. Wand in hand, Margarita took aim at a box and blasted it. Though her hexes did not have as much power as Scorpius' due to her age and her inexperience, Snape could already tell that she had potential. After hexing a few boxes, she looked at Severus and pleaded, "Please play the moving box game with me."
Snape smiled. "Of course we can."
He magically lifted the box off the ground and moved it around, albeit much slower than he had with Scorpius. After a few tries, Margarita too blasted the box.
The rest of the afternoon was spent hexing the boxes and watching Margarita's dance routine. While Snape regretted not being able to brew a potion with Scorpius, he seemed happy enough with the hexing game. There was always next time for the potion anyway. Ginny and he talked for a bit between rounds of "hex the box". She updated him on their plans for the nursery and how Draco insisted that this child would be a boy. She laughed when Snape asked her about having a gender test performed on the baby.
"And ruin the suspense?" She'd asked. "I'd rather this little one surprise me. I'm happy as long as it's healthy."
After another hour had passed, Ginny finally announced, "Children, it's getting close to dinnertime and Uncle Severus has a big day tomorrow, reopening his store. It's time to go home."
"Do we have to?" Margarita asked.
"Can't we just stay the night?" Scorpius asked.
Ginny shook her head. "We need to give Uncle Severus some space. We'll see him around his holiday, I'm sure."
"It's not like I'm going anywhere," Severus joked.
"Okay," the children answered.
They all embraced before one last goodbye. Then Ginny led the children out. As they walked to the apparation point, Ginny sighed as she thought about how she hadn't discussed Hermione with him, Though she had every intention of telling him everything that had happened with Hermione, she couldn't break away from the children, and Merlin knew they didn't need to hear any of it. Since Severus had only brought up Hermione once, the relationship could be strictly professional. Perhaps Lucius had simply been jerking everyone's chain and it was all in his head.
She vowed to find out next time.