Title: You Never Know
Author: Draconn Malfoy
Feedback: lionora@hotmail.com
Summary: After Sirius is gone, a strange wolf starts to keep Remus company on the full moon nights. After one especially satisfying night of companionship, Remus and Severus have a couple of problems to deal with... More exactly, five little cubs. Five very lively cubs.
Challenge: 84) One of the worst things about having Sirius gone is that there’s no one to stay with Lupin when he transforms. But then, an animal starts to join him during the full moon. They quickly bond. Lupin is convinced it is an Animagus, and is determined to hind his real identity.
A/N: An insane fluff plot bunny (yes, I have those, too) that somehow managed to leave my mind and pour out to my comp... No sense ahead. As of how this got started, I was playing with the idea whether a werewolf’s wolf form could be another gender than their human form, and, well, this is what came from that idea combined with the challenge.
My thousand thanks to Lyssepoo for betaing this.
...The title sucks. But I wanted a title that would begin with the letter "Y", so, my bad.
WARNINGS: MPREG. Well, not really, but kind of...

*

You Never Know

*

The nearer the moment of full moon came, the more anxious Remus became.

He knew what the wolf would be like, as he’d once before had to settle to a life with nobody as his companion through the full moons. That was also the reason why he hadn’t wanted to stay in Grimmauld Place with people around -- he knew all too well that the wolf would go on a rampage, and he didn’t want to risk the others if it came too much for him to control even with the help of the Wolfsbane Potion.

Once the exact night of transformation came, he was in his little cottage in the middle of nowhere. He didn’t think he could transform in Grimmauld Place -- of course everyone would stay away, so as not to unnerve the wolf, but the house was full of the scent of both Sirius and Padfoot. It was almost unbearable to him as a human -- to the wolf, it’d be a nightmare.

So, as the night came nearer, he undressed himself in the middle of his tiny living room. Folding the clothes into a neat pile which he placed on the nearby shelf, he sat down on the floor, waiting for the moon to come up.

Suddenly, a wave of pain hit him. Remus bit his teeth together as his muscles were stretched, his bones bent, and mouth stretched out into a muzzle. Fur grew from his skin, his ears moved to the top of his head, and a tail spurted out from him.

Just as suddenly as the transformation had begun, it was over. Then, he rose to his four legs -- or, rather, _she_ rose to _her_ four legs.

That was a truth he’d never told anybody but his friends -- his friends consisting of the former Marauders, Nymphadora Tonks, and Kingsley Shacklebolt -- and wouldn’t tell anybody else, if he just could avoid that. A werewolf’s wolf form’s gender was confirmed in two ways. If they were born from lycanthropic parents and thus inherited the curse, the wolf was the same gender as the human. If, however, they got later inflicted with it, the wolf was the same gender as the wolf that had bit the human in the first point.

And, as Remus had been bit by a she-werewolf, his wolf form was female.

So, Moony rose to her legs, shaking herself slightly. Sniffing at the scents of her home, she padded towards the door. Even though she was now alone, she just had to run around for a while. It would make the ache of her muscles more bearable - and, hopefully, the painful memories.

As she slipped outside, however, she caught an unfamiliar scent. Slowly turning around, she saw a wolf. A he-wolf.

He was almost twice as big as she was, which was really big, considering that she was bigger than most females due to her lycanthropy. His fur was night-black, his muscles well-shaped, and there was an understanding glint in his eyes. Looking wary, he took a tentative step towards her.

Moony went nearer, sniffing at the stranger’s scent. She sensed no threat from this wolf, so she was not afraid. Besides, she also noticed that this was a normal wolf, not a werewolf like she. Normal wolves never messed with werewolves, no matter what was their size, or even if they had their whole pack with them. And this wolf was alone. So, no reasons to be afraid.

As they’d hastily got to know each other’s scent, Moony sat to the ground. ‘What are you called?’ she asked from her companion.

‘Shadow,’ the stranger replied -- or, rather, gave her the idea of a shadow, as wolves did not use real words. But, the idea was enough -- cool air, darkness, a swish of motion, along with an odd lightness accompanied by mysterious weight. Shadow. ‘Who are you?’ he then asked in turn.

‘Moony,’ she replied. The scent of night, sounds of distant howling, pale light on tree leaves and grass wet with night dew, and a slide of silver that made her unvoluntarily shiver -- all that formed her name. The name had been given by her friends, who were now all gone, or worse -- to wolves, nothing was worse than bertraying the pack.

He nodded. ‘A good name,’ he said, still watching her intently with his jet-black eyes. ‘You’re one of the cursed,’ Shadow noticed, taking a step backwards in wary respect.

Moony nodded in response. They both knew that Shadow had known her kind before even the first sight, before they had tested the other’s scent for the first time. But, it wouldn’t have been polite to mention it before the usual formalities. And wolves were all for politeness.

‘That explains it, then,’ Shadow continued after a moment of silence that was very usual to any conversations between wolves.

‘Explains what?’ Moony asked after the respective pause.

‘Why you smelled of a male before the dawn, and of a female after the moon came up,’ came the reply. Once again, Moony’s human part was fascinated by all the feelings Shadow sent to her instead of words - ‘male’ was a mix of aggressiveness, harshness, sharpness, and strength, while ‘female’ was made up of softness, wariness, speed, and fluid motion - not to forget a slight mention of cubs.

‘Yes,’ she replied, ‘that’s the reason.’ Then, as the other wolf didn’t seem to be going to say anything, she asked, ‘Will you run with me tonight?’

After a moment, Shadow nodded. ‘That will be a honour to me,’ he said, and Moony didn’t doubt his words at all.

Side by side, the two wolves departed to the nearby forest.

*

As the dawn came nearer, two exhausted wolves walked out of the forest, towards the little cottage. They’d spent all night running and hunting through the forest. Moony’s human side had kept in control, however -- somehow, Shadow’s presence seemed to make it even easier, just like her Animagi friends had done before.

This wasn’t even the only reason why she suspected Shadow to be an Animagus, she thought, as she bid goodbyes to her new friend and slipped inside through the doorway. Not only could she communicate with Shadow about everything without any problems at all -- even the most intelligent animals, like dogs, failed to understand certain aspects of human life, and thus demanded many explanations -- but also the he-wolf seemed to be very knowledgeable about most things concerning only the humankind, as well as extremely intelligent.

Besides, there were no wild wolves in Britain.

With these thoughts in her mind, Moony fell asleep. *still loves*

*

The next morning -- or, rather, the next day -- Remus awoke to see a man with beetle-black eyes watching him.

"Severus?" Remus croaked with a raspy voice.

"Dumbledore sent me to check on you," the Slytherin explained. "Drink this." He handed Remus a goblet, which the werewolf accepted.

Remus sipped the potion, absently noticing that he was in bed and covered up with a warm blanket. For a moment he thought about thanking Severus, but the warning glint in the beetle-black eyes told him not to.

"Severus?" he asked as he handed back the empty goblet.

"Yes, Lupin?" came the snappish reply.

"Could you please go and look at the most recent Ministry registries, and check if there are any wolf Animagi in Britain?" Remus asked as kindly as he could.

"Why, lacking company?" Severus sneered. "And why don’t you go yourself, or better even, owl and ask for the list of registered Animagi? Even my students do that all the time, you know."

"I can’t," Remus replied softly. "Due to my werewolf status, I’m not allowed to receive any official documents that don't have any mentions of me -- and not even most of those that do. And to enter the Ministry building, I would have to show my ID tattoo and submit to a personal search. It’s rather humiliating, and most probably they’d anyway make up some prohibition to prevent me seeing the registries."

For a moment, Severus kept quiet, just watching him with the unnerving jet-black eyes. Then, very slowly, he nodded. "Okay, I’ll do it." Then he turned around and swept out of the room, then out of the whole house, and Disapparated.

*

After the next Order meeting, Severus came to Remus. "I looked at the registries," he said without any further formalities. "There are no wolf Animagi in the whole country."

Remus nodded slowly. An unregistered Animagus, then. "Thank you, Severus," he said. "I owe you."

"So you definitely do," the Slytherin murmured, then again swept away.

*

The odd wolf came back the next full moon. And the next, and the next. Every time, they’d run in the forest, or just lay together on the floor of Remus’s little cottage -- always depending on Moony’s current condition, as some transformations were more difficult than others.

Moony soon learned to trust her unusual companion, and between full moons, Remus almost longed for the next full moon, because that meant that Shadow would come again. The other wolf seemed to be the only creature who could understand him after Sirius’s death. The truth that they were both in wolf form somehow made it easier - their feelings were stronger and rawer, with no barriers of humanity keeping them down.

One day, Remus did what he wouldn’t have thought he’d ever do - told about the gender of the wolf to somebody. To be exact, Harry and his friends. Somehow, the truth that some stranger knew about this change, and approved it, made it a lot easier to him to admit it to some of his less near friends.

Occasionally, Remus wondered who his mysterious companion really was. As there were no wolf Animagi in the registries, he figured that Shadow must be an unregistered one - which meant that he was a powerful and intelligent wizard, as he’d managed to complete the transformation without any help. That was a truth Remus had to respect, since he knew very well the difficulty of becoming an Animagus, having seen his friends’ efforts for it.

They become closer and closer. Even the truth that Moony was in essence male didn’t disturb her companion playfully teasing her. One night, being on an extremely playful mood, Moony decided to give in to her temptations.

That night, their howls were heard far away.

*

A man entered Remus Lupin’s room about two hours after the dawn. He was prepared to carry to the bed and cover the werewolf who would be naked after the transformation, then leave some strengthening potions on the bed-side table and leave. Everything would go just as usually, since after the first time, he’d almost never stayed until the other man awoke. The Slytherin’s thoughts were already flowing to everything he’d do once he’d left the little cottage.

All these thoughts left his mind like rats leave a sinking ship as he saw the golden wolf who still lay on the floor, seemingly asleep.

His mind was rapidly going through all knowledge he possessed about werewolves. At last he found the piece of information he was looking for: There was indeed one occasion in which a werewolf wouldn’t transform back after the full moon.

The occasion being that there was a litter of cubs conceived to them during the night.

‘Oh, fuck,’ he thought.

‘Lupin is pregnant.’

‘Because of me.’

At that thought, Severus Snape fainted.

*

It was still before noon as Severus gained back his consciousness. A quick glance around the room told him that there indeed was a wolf asleep on the floor, not a man.

He got up on shaky legs. For the first time in his life, he felt really nervous. He hadn’t been this scared even before Voldemort.

But, facing Voldemort would be much easier and less dangerous than to face the wrath Albus Dumbledore and Poppy Pomfrey would most likely give him for this.

At first, he collected Moony on his arms and carried her to the bed. There was no use pulling the covers over her, so he just laid her there, not daring to wake her. Then he went over to the fireplace and murmured a quick spell to light up the flames. He tossed a handful of Floo powder from the nearby pot to the fire, and shouted, "Albus Dumbledore!"

Soon, the old wizard’s face appeared to the flames. "What it is, Severus, my boy?" he asked kindly.

Severus shuddered slightly, knowing that the Headmaster wouldn’t be kind at all after receiving the news. "I think," he began, breathed deep inside and tried again, "I think we just might have a little problem here."

"What?" Dumbledore gained instantly a worried expression. "Is something wrong with Remus?"

"Well..." Severus hesitated, then said, "You’d better get Poppy here as well."

In fifteen minutes, both the Headmaster and the school nurse entered the cottage. As they saw the wolf lying on the bed, both gasped in shock. Poppy immediately ran to check on Moony, whilst Dumbledore turned towards Severus.

"Do you have any idea about what could have caused this?" he asked kindly.

"It was my fault," Severus confessed quietly.

"Your fault?" Dumbledore echoed, frowning. "You didn’t somehow mess up the Wolfsbane Potion, did you?"

"No," the Potions Master replied, shaking his head. "But I think that Poppy might soon get a pretty good idea of what has happened."

"Really," the mediwitch’s voice said, cutting their conversation. The tone was a cold one that neither of the wizards had ever heard her using. "And I’m horrified of what I’ve found!"

"What it is, Poppy?" Dumbledore asked, eyeing the wolf and Severus in turns, the wolf concernedly and Severus suspiciously.

"What it is, you ask! Well, I’ll tell you what it is! Your beloved Potions Master has somehow managed to IMPREGNANT poor Remus!"

"WHAT?!" Dumbledore roared. "Severus, if this truly is your doing, you are in a very deep trouble indeed!"

"I know," the younger man said quietly. "But trust me, I didn’t mean it, I --" He was, however, cut off by Madam Pomfrey.

"Severus Snape!" she snapped, obviously furious. "You’d better give me a satisfying explanation as of how on Earth you accomplished this, or I swear I’ll have you thrown to the Azkaban right away!"

Severus hung his head down, both the mediwitch’s and Headmaster’s gazes fixed on him.

Then, he wasn’t there. On his place was a huge, black wolf, with a spot of grey on his left front leg. The enormous animal, however, almost shrank down in front of the two pairs of steely blue eyes fixed on him.

As he turned back, the Headmaster shook his head. "Aren’t there enough unregistered Animagi running around?" he asked. "And, if you absolutely have to be one, why do you want to have cubs on top of it all?!"

"Well, I swear I definitely didn’t plan it!" Severus snapped back, gaining back some of his usual Slytherin pride.

"Maybe you didn’t plan it," Pomfrey hissed. "But you did it. If it didn’t mean that Remus is going to be left completely alone, I swear I would rip your balls off and make you eat them before ripping you to half!"

The Potions Master took a couple of steps backwards, shocked by the language the usually patient woman was using. "I don’t --"

"SHUT UP!" she yelled at him. "I don’t care what you have to say, I only care that you’ve just very well ruined the rest of Remus’s life!"

Now, Dumbledore tried to step between them. "Poppy, I don’t understand why --"

"You don’t understand," Pomfrey hissed. "You don’t understand! Well, let me explain this to you!" She glanced sharply at Severus, then said, "This kind of pregnancies can’t be aborted. Thus, Remus is forced to have these cubs, whom will turn into humans some time after their birth."

Severus nodded, he knew all of this already.

"If a werewolf carries a litter of cubs, however," the mediwitch continued bitterly, "they’re infinitely bound to the father of the cubs. There’s no backing away from it. If they spent as much as three days away from their mate, they’ll die." She glared sharply at him before continuing, "The only way to break the bond is the death of either of the mates. And now, Remus is bound to you, without ever meaning that to be." She snapped her tongue, then continued still, "You, Severus Snape, are in a very deep shit indeed."

Severus sighed deeply. "I’m well aware of that," he said quietly.

"Well, how long will it take?" Dumbledore asked from Poppy. "I mean, how long until the cubs arrive?"

"Usually, a wolf carries for two months," the mediwitch said. "As these are partly humans, however, it can be anything between two and nine months. The only thing I know, however, that they’ll turn into humans almost exactly nine months from now on, which is the usual time of pregnancy to humans. How long they spend in their cub form before that, depends wholly on the length of Remus’s pregnancy."

"So, if in example Remus carried them for five months, they’d be cubs for four months, and then turn to humans?" the Headmaster asked.

Poppy nodded. "That’s right. It isn’t until then that we can see whether one or more of the children are lycanthropic."

Severus was growing nervous. The day was going on, and Moony would wake up soon. He had a bad suspicion of who’d have to explain everything to her...

*

Moony awoke slowly. At first, she was really confused. Why was she still in her wolf form even though it was already near the sunset - the day after the full moon? Also, if she was still a wolf, how’d she got into the bed?

Her nose picked up a couple of new scents. Lemon drops with the little tone of cheerful insanity that was unique to Albus Dumbledore, as well as the mix of chocolate, clean sheets, warm sunlight, and Pepper-Up Potion that was obviously the scent of Poppy Pomfrey, were easy to her to identify. Also, she smelled Severus’s familiar scent, rather fresh - peppermint, dungeons, and cool air, combined with the slight smell of various potions ingredients.

Also, there was the more than familiar scent of Shadow. It was night air, forest, and raw and masculine power, balanced by a hint of fluid motion and carefulness. Turning her head to the direction of the scent, she saw the large, black wolf sitting on the floor next to her.

For a moment, Shadow just watched her. Suddenly he said, very quietly, ‘Last night, our certain deeds resulted with something... You’re with a litter.’

‘Oh,’ said Moony, then again, ‘Oh.’ Then she said, ‘This proves that I was right, however. Only a part-human can conceive me - no matter how much you’ve been telling against it.’

‘Don’t you understand?’ Shadow asked in an almost desperate tone. ‘I being an Animagus doesn’t matter. You’re with a litter - you’re pregnant!’

‘And?’ she asked, astonished. She couldn’t at all understand the mixed emotions coming from her mate. ‘Is there something wrong about it?’ Of course her having cubs would bring problems, but they could deal with those. All that mattered was that she cared about her mate, and he cared about her - both of which she knew to be true, even to the point of loving each other.

‘Is something wrong about it? Of course there is something wrong!’ Shadow replied fiercely. ‘You’re now infinitely bound to me!’

‘Your point being?’ she asked, then yawned lazily. ‘I know emotions when I smell them, Shadow. I love you. You love me. What possibly could be wrong about us being bound?’

The black wolf let out the nearest a wolf could do to a frustrated sigh. ‘Moony, you don’t even know who I am as a human,’ he reminded patiently.

‘No, I don’t,’ she said, not even caring very much. As wolves were much more straightforward than humans, she knew that her companion was in essence a warm, caring person, even though he often tried to hide those emotions behind a cool mask. Even more importantly, she knew that she loved Shadow as a wolf, which meant that she definitely would love him as a human, no matter who he was. It just didn’t matter to her. ‘Who are you, anyway?’ ...Not that she couldn’t be somehow curious.

With a heavy wolf-sigh, Shadow took a step backwards. Then, there was something very close to a swirl in the air, and on his place stood a man - a tall, lean, black-haired man with a hooked nose and beetle-black eyes.

Severus Snape.

Moony couldn’t help but gasp in surprise. Well, this was not at all what she’d expected. As she saw Severus’s expression turning almost worried at her reaction, however, she rose to her feet and stepped forward. Then she licked the man’s hand reassuringly, trying to make him understand that she did not mind his true personality.

Fortunately, Severus understood. He kneeled down to get to eye-level with the wolf, letting his long-fingered hands slightly stroke the gold-silver fur. Moony let out a satisfied little bark, then lay down, laying her head in Severus’s lap to get her ears scratched.

Severus didn’t fail her expections. As he scratched her ears, however, he kept speaking. "I’m sorry, Moony, I truly am," he babbled with a quiet tone. "I didn’t mean it, I didn’t even realize that this could happen before it was too late to do anything. I hope you aren’t too mad at me for making you pregnant and bound to me..."

‘Do I look like I was mad?’ she asked calmly. Being in his human form, Severus could not catch all the complicated tones and side-meanings of her message, but he’d picked enough traits from his Animagus form to get the general idea of it.

"Good," he sighed. "I just hope that you’ll be as willing to forgive me once you’re back in your human form and have a litter of cubs running around... That you won’t then just take our cubs and leave me alone."

Moony huffed quietly. ‘Rather, I’d be fearing that you’re going to leave me alone,’ she replied. ‘But we both know that that’s not going to happen, either.’

Again, Severus seemed to get the general idea. "We have to talk about the arrangements with Albus," he said then. "I want you to be near me all the time, as if something goes wrong, nobody else can communicate with you in both ways. I wonder if teachers are allowed to take pet wolves to Hogwarts..."

‘Don’t be silly,’ Moony chuckled. ‘Of course you are.’

"Would you like that, however?" Severus asked warily, still scratching her ears. "Living with me in my quarters? Following me everywhere?"

She let out a satisfied sound. ‘Sounds like a brilliant idea to me,’ she told him. Then she rolled over to her back, showing that she wanted her belly to be scratched, too.

Severus, of course, was all too happy to obey her wishes.

*

In the meeting that night the Order members were met with a rather unusual sight as they saw Severus Snape sweeping in with a large, gold-silver she-wolf on his side.

"Erm, Snape -- isn’t that Moony?" Tonks asked, obviously astonished.

"Yes, she is," Severus replied shortly, taking his usual seat at the table. Moony settled down to the floor next to him, resting her head on her paws.

"What exactly does this mean?" Kingsley demanded. "Why hasn’t she turned back to her human form?"

The Slytherin gave him a smirk. "This means that in nine months of time, I and Remus will have from four to six nice, little human babies," he replied calmly. "Of course, before that they’ll spend a few months after their birth in a cub form."

Mad-Eye Moody snorted in disbelief, eyeing the she-wolf warily. "Don’t even try telling us that you --" he said, leaving the sentence unfinished, but also giving everyone a very clear idea of what he meant.

"No, Moody," Severus sneered. "I, in fact, am a wolf Animagus. I don’t have to bend to the twisted ways you obviously favour."

The ex-Auror started to rise from his seat, a dangerous mix of fury and vengefulness marking his harsh features, but a simple gesture from Dumbledore stopped him. "Now, now, gentleman," the Headmaster said. "Please calm down. Alastor, I hardly find it anything of your concern as of how Moony got to this situation. The facts that you have to know are that there’s no bad will between Severus and Moony, that Moony’s from now on staying with him, and that she needs the full-time support of all of you to get through this unusual situation without any further problems. There’s no need to try to make up a quarrel between yourself and Severus."

Mad-Eye returned to his seat, quietly grumbling to himself. Tonks giggled a bit, earning a sharp glare from him. However, he did not dare to say anything for the rest of the meeting, which was quite a record.

*

As the sixth-year Gryffindors and Slytherins entered the Potions classroom, they were surprised to see a large, gold-silver she-wolf lying on a thick rug that lay on the floor next to their teacher’s desk.

"Good morning, class," Snape said with a nasty little smirk. "Say hello to my little pet."

"Now, that’s quite surprising, professor Snape," Draco Malfoy said, immediately going to scratch the animal behind her ears. "I didn’t know you liked wolves." He didn’t notice the sharp glare he got from the wolf. Moony did, however, keep her teeth under line -- it wouldn’t do to bite students.

"Now, I really don’t see where you got that particular idea, Mr. Malfoy," the Potions Master replied smoothly. "Go to your respective seats, everyone, the lesson is just about to begin."

They did so, then quietly listened as Snape explained the assignment of the day. After writing down the instructions on the board, they set to work.

Harry and Neville did their best to make as perfect a potion as they could. Even though Neville had passed his OWLs -- something that irritated Snape to no end -- he now had to be sharp on every lesson. He’d almost failed getting to the NEWTs class, and Harry’d also been just about to fall out. Therefore, every class was an opportunity to show their skills. As there was an odd number of students, they had turns with Hermione -- on every lesson, either Harry or Hermione would work with Neville, since he was undoubtedly the worst of them in Potions and could not work alone.

Snape came to the boys’ cauldron on his walk around the class. "This is quite surprising, Potter, Longbottom," he said with a nasty snarl. "I can’t see anything wrong with your potion... yet. Undoubtedly, we shall see yet a new example of your incompetence before the lesson is over."

To their great surprise, the wolf let out a small, annoyed bark. Snape rolled his eyes towards the ceiling, looking frustrated. "Do not mess with this, Moony," he commanded strictly. "I in fact do know how to treat my students."

"Err... Professor?" asked Malfoy hesitantly. "Do you really understand what she says?"

"Why, of course," replied the Potions Master, raising his eyebrow. All students exchanged amazed glances. From any other teacher, they’d taken this as a joke or a sign of insanity. However, they knew that Snape did not joke. And even though they did fear their professor, they also respected him -- it was very frightened and sometimes hateful respect, yes, but respect all the same -- and that respect told them that it was much more likely that Snape could indeed communicate with wolves than that he’d suddenly become insane.

However, the name he’d used caused even more amazement among certain students. Harry and Hermione exchanged confused glances, hoping that the lesson would end soon so they could talk in peace.

*

The lesson did get to its end at last, like it always did. Harry and Hermione were both walking out of the dungeons. Even though Harry’d already almost forgotten the surprising name of Snape’s pet, Hermione wasn’t about to do that.

"Could it really be our Moony?" the young witch pondered. "I think she looks quite right... But it’s not a full moon now, definitely not in the middle of the day! And why’d Moony be staying with professor Snape?"

"Oh, give up already, Hermione," Harry sighed. "It’s downright impossible. Why don’t you --"

Just then, they heard a cheerful bark behind them. Before Harry could finish his sentence, a familiar, large wolf had ran around him, knocked him down to the floor, and licked his face soaking wet.

"Okay, okay, enough!" Harry panted between bursts of laughter. "I admit, it is indeed our Moony. Still, I wonder how? And why?" Moony released him at last, sitting on the floor. She cocked her head to side, watching them with large golden eyes. She did not say anything, of course.

"Moony!" somebody called around the corner. "Moony, where are you?" Snape stepped to the corridor. As he saw the two students and the wolf, he froze momentarily. Then, with a slight shake of his head, he walked nearer. "I guess this was just to be expected," he sighed, giving a glare to the wolf, who met it with a wide wolf-grin. "Why couldn’t you just have left them in peace?"

"But, professor Snape, how?" Hermione asked, curious. "Why she’s not turned back to Remus? Is something wrong with her?"

"No, nothing is wrong with her," Snape snapped quickly -- maybe even a bit too quickly. "Mind your own business, will you, Miss Granger?"

The wolf, however, did not seem to approve this answer. She in turn gave Snape a sharp glare, accompanied with a short, quiet growl.

To the great astonishment of Harry and Hermione, Snape cocked his head to side in a gesture much similar to the one Moony had expressed just moments ago. "Are you sure?" the Potions Master asked, grumbling in slight irritation.

This time, the wolf nodded, looking slightly happier.

"Fine, then." Snape turned towards the two. "At first, you have to understand that you can’t tell what I’m about to tell you to anyone. Absolutely no one may hear about this -- well, you’ll probably tell Mr. Weasley anyway, but if you tell even one more person, I’ll make sure to personally skin you alive. And slowly. Have I made myself clear?" As they nodded, not doubting a single word of his, he continued, "Well, to start from the beginning, I’m an Animagus. My animal form is a wolf."

Hermione and Harry exchanged surprised glances, then nodded, eager to know more.

"As you know already, Moony is a female. Well, my Animagus form is obviously male. Do you know exactly what comes out if you put together a female wolf and a male one?"

Hermione’s eyes widened in fascination. "A litter of cubs!" she exclaimed happily. "Can I baby-sit once they turn to humans?"

"I see you’re well aware of the aspects of this kind of thing, Miss Granger," Snape said with a raised eyebrow. "And as for the baby-sitting thing... Well, if you pass all your final exams this year with full points, I might consider allowing that. I think that Remus will allow it anyway."

"I’ll be sure to fullfill that task!" she replied with a joyous voice.

Moony nudged Harry’s leg, a warm glint in her golden eyes.

"She says you can be the godfather of one of the cubs," Snape told the boy. "I think I could live with that, so, that'll be it." Then he, however, turned around and hurried away, his "pet" circling around his legs, not resorting to more chatter.

The two students were left in the corridor, giving each other amazed glances.

*

Albus opened the door to the Potions Master’s quarters very quietly. There was nobody in sight. Knowing where to look, he silently crossed the way to the door of the bedroom, and quietly opened it.

Two wolves lay curled up on the bed, both seemingly asleep. As he adored the cute sight in front of him, however, the he-wolf opened its eyes and gave him an intent, golden gaze. ‘Don’t you dare say anything,’ the gaze seemed to tell him.

So, he didn’t say anything. Instead he just smiled gently, took a step backwards -- and raised the wizarding camera he had in his hands, flashing it a couple of times. Then he hastily left the quarters just in time to avoid the enraged black wolf’s wrath.

*

Hogwarts soon got used to seeing the Potions Master walking up and down the corridors with a she-wolf on his side. Most were curious to know why the said wolf’s stomach seemed to grow a bit every passing day. If she was expecting cubs, shouldn’t they have been born already? Some did put two and two together to get four, however -- especially after Professor Snape registered his Animagus form, an event which spread as a rumour through the school before the day was out. When the Headmaster finally announced -- the Potions Master all the time scowling at him -- that yes, there were indeed human-wolfcubs to be expected, seventy-three students fainted.

Then, one day, six months after Moony had first appeared, the sixth year Potions class was met by the Headmaster sitting behind the teacher’s desk. "Err... Professor Dumbledore?" Malfoy dared to ask. "Where’s Professor Snape?"

"Ah, Professor Snape," the Headmaster said with a broad smile. "I do believe he’s currently witnessing the birth of his children. I’m to be his substitute today."

This brought up excited squeals from most girls and astonished gazes from the boys. Harry, on his own part, was a bit worried. What if Snape would leave Lupin alone when the werewolf was in his human form again? Or what if something happened to him during the birth-giving? Lupin was the last one he knew who’d been his parents’ friend. He was not Sirius, but the nearest to Sirius he still had. And Harry didn’t want him to get hurt.

Then, however, he soon forgot his doubts as Dumbledore assigned them to brew Hilarizing Potions and drink them. Even Neville, aided by Hermione this time, managed to brew his potion correctly. So, the rest of the day was spent by them pretty much laughing and giggling at everything -- although they would have found it hilarious even without the potion when Malfoy, giggling too much at Professor Sprout’s new hair style to notice what was happening, fell right into a bush of Hair-dying Roses and spent that day not only laughing, but with crimson hair.

*

It was bright, too bright. Remus shut his eyes tightly right after he’d opened them, raising a hand to cover them.

Wait a minute... A hand? Yes, a hand. Not a paw anymore. That meant that... That meant that the cubs had been born, and he was a human again.

The lights were slightly dimmer when he next time dared to open his eyes. "Mmm... Severus?" Remus asked as he saw the familiar figure next to his bed.

"I’m here," the Slytherin replied. "Welcome back to the world of humans, love."

"Oh." The werewolf tried to raise his head from the pillow but then let it fall back to it, exhaustion preventing him. "And the cubs?"

Now, Severus broke into a wide smile completely uncharacteristical to him. "We have five healthy little cubs," he told. "Two girls and three boys. They’ll turn into humans in three months of time, according to Poppy."

"Five?" Remus echoed. "Oh, my. I guess we’re in for quite some interesting time in the near future."

"I guess so, too," Severus said, then leant forward to place a little kiss on his forehead. "But I think we’ll make it."

"Yes," Remus said, then smiled a bit. To his surprise, Severus smiled back at him.

*

"Nike, Severa, Noah, Victor, and Romulus Snape! Come back here on this INSTANT!"

...Ah, time has gone by. Quite a bit of it, in fact. The five "cubs" had, in the age of three months, turned into five adorable human babies who kept their parents well awake at most of the nights. When one stopped crying, the other started it -- if they were lenient enough to allow their parents the burden of "only" one wailing child at time. Usually they weren’t. However, Remus and Severus did not complain but suffered quietly. Besides, they could catch up on sleep every now and then when somebody offered to baby-sit their children -- other than loud, the babies were also truly adorable, and had all Hogwarts fawning over them, even if they were Snapes.

Yes, Snapes. When the children had still been in their cub form and thus not officially born to humans, their parents had got married in a small, quiet ceremony. Thus, when they’d finally turned into humans, they’d been "born" to be Snapes, all five of them.

But Nike, Severa, Noah, Victor, and Romulus were no more little babies. No, they were now quite lovely and lively two-year-old charmers with pretty smiles and bright eyes -- not to mention very fast feet, the one characteristic in them their parents did not always find necessarily delighting. Especially not when they used them to run away from their parents.

Like now. It was time for them to get bathed, and like all children at some age, they were now in their I-hate-baths phase. And thus, they’d ran away, and Remus and Severus were now searching them through the castle. Which was also why Remus was bellowing in the corridor.

"Here you are, Remus," said Harry, coming around the corner with a struggling child in his lap. "I found Victor in a little side corridor. Shall I take him to your quarters?"

"Please do," said Remus with a sigh, "and if you only could, please stay there until we’ve get all children gathered. It’d do no good if the ones already caught escaped again when we were chasing the others." Then, with a quick glance at his son, he added, "Besides, it’s Noah you have there."

Harry shrugged and grinned. "I’m not required to tell them apart," he said with a grin. "I’m not their Godfather. All I have to do is to be able to tell Nike apart from her siblings."

Remus snorted and rolled his eyes. Truly. Like they didn’t have enough problems already, Noah and Victor had somehow managed to be identical twins. They themselves of course could tell the boys apart, but nobody else could, not even Albus, who usually didn’t miss anything. Only Mad-Eye had sometimes managed to see some difference between the two black-haired menaces who threateningly seemed to be growing into the renewed version of the Weasley twins. Sure, they weren’t more than two years old yet, but they were almost frightening in their similarity to Fred and George sometimes.

So, he parted from the young Quidditch Instructor -- it had surprised most of them that Harry hadn’t been made a Defense Against Dark Arts teacher, but he did understand the boy’s unwillingness to have anything to do with that particular area of magic now that he’d finally got Voldemort defeated. They now had Tonks for the DADA professor as Remus himself was far too much involved with his children, a case which resulted with DADA becoming even more popular and the injuries during the lessons becoming almost daily. And all of those injuries, from mere scratches to serious poisonings, had happened to the teacher herself. Still, students liked her, and even Slytherins seemed to trust her skills as a teacher. Remus could only wonder just what part of their body students used for thinking, if any. He’d been made the Head of Gryffindor after Minerva’s unfortunate death, however -- it was said nowhere that he had to be a professor in order to be a Head of House, only that he had to reside in the school more or less permanently.

...But, being the Head of Gryffindor did not put much respect into his children’s hearts. Therefore, he had to run. And so he did just that.

*

"What was that?" asked Cornelius Fudge, frowning slightly, as a tiny form of a child ran past them. Only a moment later, they heard loud yelling from the nearby corridor, and then a tall wizard in black robes also ran by.

"Looks like it’s the bath time," said Dumbledore with a slight smile. "The children don’t really like it, you see."

"Children?" echoed the Minister of Magic. "You have children here in the castle -- other than students, of course?"

"Why, of course," chuckled the Headmaster. "Wherever else would Remus and Severus put their little offsprings?" Noticing the Minister’s astonishment, he continued, "Oh, don’t tell me you didn’t know about it already, my dear Cornelius. It was all over newspapers two years ago." His eyes twinkled with mirth. Nobody was anymore afraid of the Minister, who was bound to be elected out of his post very soon.

Fudge’s forehead wrinkled. "Oh, yes, I do remember now," he then snorted. "The halfbreeds your Potions Master produced with that werewolf, right?"

Now the joy in the steely blue eyes was replaced by cool anger. "No halfbreeds," he said harshly. "They’re all very much human children. Not one of them is even a werewolf, leave alone not human."

Just then, a giggling form ran into sight from a side corridor. Not even stopping, Dumbledore extended a hand and caught the running child. "Now, now, Severa," he said gently at the black-haired girl, who was frowning at him. "I do believe your fathers would appreciate it if you for once went willingly into the bath. It’s not that bad, you know."

"No bath!" whined the girl. "Bad grampa Albz!"

"Yes, very bad grandpa Albus," chuckled the ancient wizard. "And very bad Severa, too. Your father and dad aren’t really happy with you right now."

"Grandpa Albus?" Fudge again echoed his words. "Why does this girl call you her grandpa?"

"Well, I am the Godfather of her identical twin brothers," the Headmaster explained cheerfully. "But as I am so old, none of them call me Uncle, but instead grandpa. It kind of fits better, and they don’t have any other grandfathers anyway."

"Twins? Just how many children do you have here?"

"Only five," replied Dumbledore cheerfully, starting to carry te still struggling child to the direction of her "home". "Nike, Severa, Noah, Victor, and Romulus are their names. Noah and Victor are the identical twins and my Godsons."

They soon enough arrived at the Snape family’s quarters, which were nowadays located in the second floor, as it would have been impossible to keep children in the dark, cold dungeons. Fudge didn’t dare to protest about their destination -- besides, it was part of his business in Hogwarts anyway. In the toy-filled sitting room -- it was impossible to have the children keep their toys in the playing room only -- they found the school’s young Quidditch Instructor and a scowling dark-haired boy.

"My, my, Noctor," laughed Dumbledore, recognizing the little boy as one of his Godsons. As he never could tell them apart, whenever he -- or anybody else, minus their parents -- saw only one of the twins, it was usually "Viah" or "Noctor" instead of Noah or Victor. "Don’t you like baths, either?"

"No!" snapped the scowling boy firmly. "Noah not like baths!"

"So you’re Noah, then?" the Headmaster asked, letting go of his own struggling burden.

"Albus!" exclaimed Harry, getting up from where he had been sitting on the couch. "Good to see that you got Severa. Good evening, Minister," he then said coolly to Fudge. "May I ask what is your business in Hogwarts?"

"I’m here to make a proposal on behalf of the school governors to the Potions Master of this school," the politician replied stiffly.

"Really?" The young teacher raised his eyebrows. "I wonder what it could be."

Just then, the door opened, and two wizards walked in. Remus was calmly holding a struggling child on each arm, while Severus only had one to carry. Noticing the people already there, they set their children to the ground -- although not before closing and locking the door properly.

"Good evening, Albus, Harry, Minister," Severus said calmly, not deceiving his surprise at seeing the last of the guests in his living room. "What is bringing you here, Minister?"

"I have a proposal to make to you," the Minister repeated his words. "The school governors are willing to give you the position of the Headmaster of Hogwarts."

"You are retiring, Albus?" asked Remus, sounding surprised.

The ancient wizard nodded. "And about time, too," he then chuckled. "I’m too old to run a school, I’d rather only concentrate on spoiling your children rotten."

"Rather expected of you, Albus," Severus remarked dryly. Then he again turned towards Fudge. "Wait until I’ve got my children bathed and put to sleep and spoken with my husband," he said coolly. "I’ll give you my answer to this offer then." And without another word he collected Severa in his other arm -- on the other he was still holding Nike -- and carried his both daughters towards the bathroom. Remus took Noah from Harry and followed his husband with their three sons in tow. Harry gave them an amused glance, then bid his polite goodbyes, and quickly fled from the quarters.

Dumbledore didn’t bother to suppress his chuckle as he saw the Minister’s irritated scowl. As they didn’t have any other option at the moment, they sat on the couch, listening in relative silence to the sounds of five lively children bathing nearby.

Soon enough they saw five towel-clad children being escorted to their bedroom. Then there were sounds of changing the children and tucking them into bed. After some sounds of faint struggling when the two fathers were trying to keep their little sweethearts in bed, and three bedtime stories, the adult Snapes finally emerged from the children’s bedroom with triumphant smiles on their faces.

"About the proposal, Minister Fudge," Severus said, sitting on another couch opposite to their two guests and pulling Remus down next to him. "We spoke about it."

"And your response is?" asked Fudge, now more than slightly irritated.

"I accept."

*

The next autumn, the first-years who were waiting for their Sorting stared at the Head table with wide eyes. On the Headmaster’s place they saw not Dumbledore, whom they’d heard a lot about, but a tall, pale, dark-haired man in a dark silver velvet robe. The man watched over the Great Hall with piercing black eyes, every now and then turning to talk quietly with a shorter wizard sitting next to him. This man was wearing a simple brown robe, and looked a lot kinder than the new Headmaster.

What mostly collected gazes, however, was what was next to the kind-looking man. There, in the middle of all mighty wizards and witches who were to teach them magic, the first-years saw five children, no more than three years old, their heads only barely above the edge of the table. The children were all wearing similar white robes, although with the way they were all waving and moving and squirming, it looked like the robes would not stay white for long if they only could get in contact with something messy. Like food, for example.

When one especially brave first-year -- he was later Sorted into Gryffindor, and for a reason -- dared to ask in a whisper from the Deputy Headmistress who the people next to the Headmaster were, and who the Headmaster himself was as he clearly was not Albus Dumbledore, he got the most cryptic answer.

"The Headmaster is Severus Snape," Professor Sprout told him. "And the six people next to him, well, they are Remus, Nike, Severa, Noah, Victor, and Romulus Snape. They are also teachers."

"What could those kids teach?" asked the first-year disbelievingly.

"Oh, you’d be surprised," the woman said, allowing herself to smile a bit. "They’ve taught the Headmaster to smile."

*

THE END

*

A/N: Oh, my... I really don’t know whether I should be happy or really disappointed about the end of this fic... Seemingly I shouldn’t write when I’m on painkillers.