As has become our custom over the last two weeks Arthur showed up at the house around two with Bill, Charlie, and Percy in tow. “Afternoon Isabella. The guys down at the guest house?”
“Yep. They’ve got something special planned for the boys. You guys are going to love it.” I said smiling down at the boys.
“Hi Aunt Isa!” Percy exclaimed as he did every day.
“Come here Perce.” I said as I crouched down to pick him up. “How’s my favorite nephew today?” I asked. It was our little inside joke. The boys know that I love them all equally.
“Excited for my surprise. Are you going to stay?”
“Nope it’s boys only I’ve been told. I’m going to take Justice down to your house so he can take his nap. Have fun boys your mum and I will be back later.” I replied as I put him down. I took Justice from Charlie’s arms. It had become custom that when I was holding Percy either Bill or Charlie would hold Justice. When I took him back I would get a kiss from each of them. “See you boys. Have fun.”
“Afternoon Molly.” I called as I stepped from the fireplace. “The twins down for their nap?”
“Just put them down. Justice’s crib is ready for him. I just put some water on for tea.”
“Alright I’m going to go put him down. Peppermint for me please.” I replied as I took Justice upstairs. I put him down and set the cradle rocking. “Goodnight my handsome boy.” I said as I leaned down to kiss him.
I came back downstairs to find Molly setting out some biscuits and two mugs of tea. “Lily and James come home tomorrow.” Molly said as we settled in.
“I know I can’t wait. I’ve missed them so much. The guys are so excited. Oh we got an owl from them last night. Lily asked that I pass on their congratulations and they can’t wait to see their new nephews. Apparently their bringing us all back gifts.”
“Isa I had a thought. Once Lily and James get back why don’t we hire a babysitter or two and all of us go out for the evening. I don’t know about you, but I could use a break.”
“That sounds great, but instead of hiring a babysitter how about Lily and I call our parents and see if they’ll watch the kids. I’m sure our mothers will come either here or to the manor and keep an eye on them for us.”
“That’s a great idea. What do you think we should do?”
“How about a nice dinner? Something that will require us to get all dressed up. We’ll put on some nice clothes do our hair and make-up. Maybe get the boys to take us to Paris. We can go out for dinner and dancing.”
“Oh I love it. We’ll start working on them when we go up to the house later. So what do the guys have planned today?”
“They transformed part of the floor to make it bounce. The padded the area around it so none of the kids would get hurt. It should be a blast.”
“I’m sure they’ll love it. So when Lily and James get back should we keep up the schedule as we’ve made it or?”
“I think we’ll keep things the way they are at least at first. If it doesn’t work then we’ll change it, but I don’t see why it shouldn’t. Molly have you seen today’s Daily Prophet?”
“Yes, but I haven’t had a chance to read it. Arthur and I try not to discuss it in front of the children. More deaths?”
“Three more. Another family. This one just two towns over. Molly I’m starting to worry. I know that the men would never let anything happen to us or the children, but there are so many of them. And he’s getting so powerful.”
“I know. There are times when I can’t sleep at night for fear of what will happen to the children if something were to happen to Arthur or me.”
“Molly if something were to happen to either of you then you know that we would make sure the children were looked after and I know you all would do the same for Justice.”
“Of course we would dear.”
Molly and I passed the next hour in pleasant company. When the boys woke up we fed and changed them all then prepared to go up to the manor as we did every day. “Hi guys. We’re home.” I called out as I stepped out of the fire place closely followed behind by Molly.
“Did you guys have fun playing?” She asked as she handed the twins to Arthur and Sirius.
“Mum it was so cool! They made the floor all bouncy. We had so much fun.” Charlie babbled away from his perch in his mother’s arms.
“Remus come take Justice will you? I want to get started on dinner.”
“Can I help Aunt Isa?”
“Of course Percy.” I smiled down at him.
“Isa why don’t we just order some food in. It’s our last night without Lily and James.”
“I thought about that Peter, but I figured we would be too excited for me to cook or do dishes tomorrow so I thought we would order in some Chinese food then. I think I’ve got lasagna in the freezer why don’t I just heat that up tonight?”
“Yummy. Can we make garlic bread too?” Percy asked.
“Of course we can. Come on lets go make dinner for this lot. You know how cranky your Uncles get when their hungry.” I teased as Percy followed me into the kitchen.
Dinner was a very loud, but fun affair. Once we settled the boys in the living room with a movie and cookies we found ourselves congregating in the kitchen as had become habit. Just as Remus and Sirius were finishing up the dishes there was a knocking at the window. I looked up to see the Potter’s owl. “I wonder why their writing this late? They know James and Lily won’t be home until tomorrow. Sirius the letters addressed to you.” I said as I handed the letter over and tossed the owl a few treats before sending it on its way. We all did our best to wait patiently while Sirius read his letter. I was the first to notice that the letter most definitely did not contain good news. “Sirius what is it what’s wrong?”
“My uncle passed away. The only person I still talk to from my family. He’s gone.”
“Oh Sirius. Come sit down.” I said while I took his arm. “Molly will you put the kettle on? I think some tea will do it.”
“I’d rather some firewhiskey.”
“Alright, Remus can you get the bottle out? Molly go ahead and still put the kettle on. I fancy a cup of mint tea.”
“Sure thing Isa.” Remus said as he handed me the letter Sirius had dropped.
I quickly scanned the letter and found that Mary had mentioned that he needed to go see a lawyer. Apparently his uncle had left him something in his will. “Sirius why don’t you tell us about your uncle? I know when my grandparents passed it helped me to talk about them.”
“No thanks. Can we talk about something else?”
“Sure thing. Remus did you guys get that banner finished?”
“Yep the kids put the finishing touches on it today. I’ll hang it before I go to bed tonight. I can’t believe they get home tomorrow. The last two weeks have just flown by.”
“They really have. Lily’s last letter sounded so full of love and energy. I can’t wait for them to get back. I’ve missed them so much. Especially Lily it’ll be nice to have another woman in the house full time. I don’t know about you Molly, but I’m feeling a little outnumbered.”
We spent the next hour or so chatting. When the kids movie was over it was time for Molly and Arthur to head home. “Molly can I talk to you really quickly?”
“Sure Isa what’s up?”
“Can Justice stay with you tonight? I don’t want him staying here not with how much Sirius has had to drink.”
“Why don’t both of you stay the night?”
“I’ll be ok. Remus and Peter will keep me safe. I’ll just breathe easier knowing Justice will be safe at your place.”
“Of course he can Isabella.” Molly said hugging me. As we walked back into the living room, “So we’re going to come up for breakfast and spend the day here since we have no idea for sure when they’ll be back. Isa would you mind helping us take the kids home?”
“Sure thing. Come on Percy climb on.” I said as I squatted in front of him. “Remus, Justice is going to stay at the burrow tonight so we can focus on getting the house ready for Lily and James’s return tomorrow.”
Molly went first with Charlie on her back and Fred in her arms. Followed by Arthur, Bill, and George. I brought up the rear with Percy and Justice. “Alright Arthur why don’t you help the boys get ready for bed while Isabella and I put the babies down.”
“Sounds good. Come on boys I’ll race you.” Arthur said on a laugh as he chased his sons up the stairs.
“Thanks Molly, I really appreciate this.”
“It’s no problem. Besides what is family for?”
With that Molly and I put the children to bed. I hugged and kissed Molly and Arthur before flooing back. I got home to find the men in full clean mode. Peter was in the kitchen scrubbing down the counters while Remus was in the living room straightening the couch and dusting. I swear I even heard the vacuum running upstairs. “What can I do to help guys?”
“The bathrooms need a good scrubbing.” I heard Peter shout.
“Not on your life! I’ll take over for Sirius and he can go clean the bathrooms. I’ll put fresh sheets in Lily and James’s room and make sure the towels are clean. Once you guys are done in here go crash. Molly, Arthur, and the kids should be here bright and early. I’m thinking chocolate chip pancakes, bacon, and eggs.”
“Sounds good now scoot Isa.” Remus teased.
After cleaning the house from top to bottom Remus and I went off to bed and Peter and Sirius went back to the Pettigrew’s place. I fell asleep with a smile on my face knowing that my son was safe and that tomorrow my best friend would be coming home.
It seemed I had only closed my eyes when my alarm went off. I rolled over and saw that it was already 7:30 in the morning. “I guess it’s time to get up.” I muttered to myself as I staggered to the bathroom. “A good hot shower that’s what I need.” I turned on the water as hot as I could handle it. “A quick shower then something cute, but warm. It looks like a cold one.” I thought.
After getting ready for the day I made my way up to the main house to find Remus, Sirius, and Peter already sitting around the table over mugs of hot coffee. “Please tell me someone put the kettle on. I need tea.”
“I’ve already made you a mug Isa.” Remus replied with a smile. “I heard your alarm going off and knowing how tired I was I figured you had to be just as exhausted. Here you go. Peppermint just the way you like it.”
“Thanks Remus. Sirius when you’re done with your coffee why don’t you go down to the Burrow and help Molly and Arthur with the kids. We’ll get started on breakfast.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Sirius said as he took a final drink from his mug. “Be back in a few guys.”
“I’ll get breakfast cooking. Remus can you make some toast. Peter get out the jelly, butter, powdered sugar, and syrup.”
“Sure thing Isa.”
Just as we were finishing up breakfast the fire turned green and Molly stepped out with Charlie and Fred. The others followed closely behind. “Breakfast is ready you guys. Everyone take a seat.” I said as I put the last platter on the table. “Eat up everyone.”
With that everyone dug in. There were chocolate chip and blueberry pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs, and toast. There was orange juice and milk for the kids and coffee and tea for the adults. After everyone had eaten their fill I turned to the men, “Alright you lot take the kids up to wash while Molly and I clean up in here. Make sure to change the babies as well please.” I called after them.
Just as Molly and I were putting the finishing touches on the kitchen the boys came back downstairs. “Kids we’re going to stay inside today. What do you want to do? Movies, a board game, arts and crafts?”
“Arts and crafts. I want to draw a picture for Aunt Lily and Uncle James.” Percy said.
“I want to watch a movie!” Bill and Charlie chorused.
“How about this we’ll put in a movie and get out the arts and crafts. That way you guys can do both. How does that sound?” I asked.
“Yay!” The kids yelled.
“Alright Remus will you help me get the crafts supplies down. Sirius help the boys pick out a movie will you.” I called over my shoulder.
Once we got the boys settled in the living room Molly, the men, and I settled around the table and played a few card games. “Aunt Isa their back.” Percy called.
We got up and walked into the living room just as Lily and James walked from the fire place. “Isabella!” Lily cried as she ran into my arms.
“Oh Lily you’re home.” I said with tears in my eyes. “Welcome home James.”
“James!” Sirius yelled as he nearly pounced on his best friend.
After all the adults welcomed back their best friends Lily and James turned their attention on the kids. “Well hi there kids.” James beamed down at them. “What do we have here?”
“We drew you pictures.” Charlie announced.
“Oh you did now? Can we see them?” Lily asked with her usual smile in place.
Percy took her hand and led her over the table. While the boys showed off their art work Sirius and Remus took Lily and James’s bags up to their room. Molly, Peter, and I ducked out to get the babies who had just woken up. Lily looked up as we walked back in, “There they are. The twins and Justice. Ok someone hand me a baby.” Peter laughed as he handed Lily the twin in his arms. “And which one is this?” Lily asked on a smile.
“You’re holding Fred. This one is George.” Molly answered with a smile. Proud to have produced so many beautiful boys.
“Aunt Isa,” Percy said tugging on my pants leg. “Can I hold Justice?”
“Sure thing Percy. Go sit on the couch and you can hold him.” I said as Percy quickly scrambled up on to the couch.
“Sirius what did you do with our bags? We brought gifts for everyone.” James said.
“There up in your room. Do you want a hand?” Sirius replied.
“Sure thing.” James laughed as he threw his arm around Sirius. “You lot stay here. We’ll bring your gifts down.” James told the kids as they tried to chase after him.
After gifts were passed out Lily, Molly, and I retreated to the kitchen where we started on lunch. “Lily I’m so glad your back. We’ve missed you guys so much.”
“I missed you guys too. Isa, Molly Hawaii was so amazing. The food was fantastic. And the scenery oh Isa the scenery. I have never seen anything so beautiful in my life. We went hiking in beautiful forests, climbed a volcano, and even attempted to learn how to surf. We had fresh fruit everyday and the seafood. Oh Molly the seafood was stunning. I’ve never had better. It was the best honeymoon I could have asked for, but I’m so glad to be home. Even with all the fun we had I was so worried about you guys and I was so sad to have missed the birth of the twins.”
“They aren’t the last children that will be had in our group. Don’t worry Lils there will be plenty of opportunities for you to be around when the children are born,” Molly said on a laugh.
“While you were off sunbathing on beaches and exploring volcanoes Molly and I were coming up with a brilliant idea if I do say so myself.”
“Oh really now?” Lily said laughing, “What idea did you two come up with?”
“Well Molly and I have been taking care of the children and the boys all by our lonesome for weeks and we’re exhausted. So we thought we would all get dressed up and go out for an evening. Maybe see if our mothers will watch the children, if not we could get a babysitter or two.”
“That sounds wonderful,” Lily gasped. “But if I can add just one little thing to it. Why don’t we make it a full day thing? The men can watch the children during the day while we go to the spa and get pampered. Then our mothers can come over and watch the children while we have a beautiful night on the town.”
“In Paris.” Molly said on a sigh. “Do you think they would stay the night? If so maybe we can stay at a hotel for the night get a few rooms. One for each of the couples and one for the single guys. We can go to the spa at the hotel and then the guys can pick us up from one of the rooms like a true date.”
“I love it. When do we leave?” I said.
“Not today that’s for sure there’s too much to do first.”
“Is lunch ready yet?” Charlie asked peeping around the corner.
“Yes Charlie it is. Go get your brothers, you dad, and your uncles.” I said as I took the last platter of sandwiches to the table. “Molly will you grab the milk and pumpkin juice. Lily the plates and napkins. Ah there you lot are. Everyone grab a seat and tuck in.”
The rest of the day was spent catching up with our friends. True to our plan we ordered Chinese food for dinner and played some board games. Around 9:00 Molly and Arthur left to put the boys to bed. As Molly left she winked at Lily and me promising to talk to Arthur. Lily and I started working on our group of men that evening. As we figured James and Remus agreed instantly, but Sirius and Peter were not so sure. “You guys don’t have to decide right now, just think about it. Sirius you should get some sleep you’ve got the lawyer tomorrow. James you’re going with him aren’t you?”
“Yeah we leave at nine.”
“Alright everyone off to bed. See you all in the morning.”
The next few days passed quickly. Before we knew it, it was Saturday morning and Molly, Arthur, and the kids showed up on the doorstep. “Right on time Molls. Hi guys are you ready for a fun day?”
“You bet.” The boys chorused as they raced passed me into the living room.
“It would appear we’re not the only ones excited for today.” I said on a laugh. “Come on into the kitchen. Lily’s just packing the last few things. She should be ready to go in a just a few. I’m just going to run down and grab my bag then I’ll be ready to go.”
As I walked back into the kitchen I found Molly and Lily sitting at the table sipping at mugs of tea while they waited for me. “Let me just go over a few things with James and Remus and then we’ll be off.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Molly said as she drank from her tea.
“James, Remus could you come in here please.” I said as I stuck my head into the living room.
“What’s up Isa?” Remus asked as he dropped into a chair.
“We’re leaving in just a few minutes. I just wanted to remind you that mine and Lily’s mothers will be here between six thirty and seven. Our reservations are at eight. Molly, Lily, and I will be in the singles sweet so feel free to use any of the other rooms to get ready. We’ve got spa treatments all day, so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to reach us. If you need anything the numbers are next to the phone. Don’t forget the boys will need to be fed lunch around noon. Am I forgetting anything?” I asked Molly and Lily.
“Can’t think of anything.” They chorused.
“Don’t worry Isabella this isn’t our first time watching the kids we’ll be fine. Now go and have fun. We’ll see you tonight.” Remus said on a laugh.
“Alright, alright we’re leaving. I just want to kiss Justice and then we’ll be on our way.” Molly, Lily and I grabbed our bags and headed into the living room.
We said goodbye to the kids and then apparated to the alley a block away from the Ritz in Paris. We checked in and dropped our bags off in the suite before heading down to the spa. It was the most relaxing day I had, had in ages. After being massaged, buffed, plucked and scrubbed into oblivion Molly, Lily, and I headed back up to the suite were we proceeded to get dressed and do our hair and makeup. At exactly 7:45 there was a knock on the door. “Just a moment.” I called. Lily, Molly, and I arranged ourselves exactly as we wanted to be seen for the first time. “Come in.”
James, Arthur, and Remus walked in. When they saw us their jaws dropped. “Oi what’s the hold up?” I heard Sirius call from behind the guys.
“Why don’t you come in so Peter and Sirius don’t have to wait in the hall?” I said on a laugh.
“Well what do you think?” Lily asked rising to kiss James.
“Wow! Just wow.” James said as he took his wife into his arms.
“You look stunning, Molly.” Arthur said as he kissed his wife.
“Isabella, you look amazing.” Remus said as he bent to kiss my hand.
“How ever did we get so lucky to have three such beautiful women as our dates?” Peter asked
“I’m the lucky one. I have three incredibly handsome men as escorts tonight. Lily and Molly only have their husbands.”
“Isabella, you look…I can’t even find the words. You look absolutely beautiful.” Sirius whispered as he kissed my cheek.
“Let’s get going. We don’t want to be late do we?” James said.
We went downstairs to find that the men had outdone themselves. They had rented a limo and were taking us to a wonderful French restaurant. Dinner was a wonderful affair. After dessert we piled back into the limo and went dancing. By the end of the night we were all exhausted. It had been such a wonderful evening. Before we left the dance hall I dragged Lily and Molly off to the restroom. “Girls I don’t know what to do. I was originally planning on spending the night alone maybe allowing Remus to stay with me, but Sirius has been so wonderful these last few days. And tonight he was so sweet, so romantic. I had forgotten how much I love him until tonight. What do I do?”
“Well it’s about time.” Molly said on a sigh. “Pay up Lily I told you by the end of the night she would be in love with him again.”
“You…you…what? You two bet on whether or not I would fall in love with Sirius tonight?” I asked trying to sound indignant. “Oh I can’t even be mad at you. What do I do?”
“You follow your heart and you ask Sirius to stay with you tonight,” Molly said.
“I agree, but with one stipulation. You take the middle room just in case. That way if anything happens just pound on the walls or scream and we’ll come running. I don’t think he’ll do anything, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.” Lily said slipping once again into the protective sister role.
“Oh girls. I love you both so much.” I said as I wiped tears from my eyes. “Alright lets go back and join our men.”
We had already decided that when we got back to the hotel we would all go back to the rooms we had gotten ready in to gather our possessions. Then we would all meet in the suite so the men could accompany us back to our rooms. No sooner than we had finished packing up our things then there was a knock on our door. “Molly will you entertain the guys for a minute I need to talk to Isa for a second.”
“Sure thing Lily.”
Lily grabbed my hand and pulled me into one of the bedrooms. As soon as the door was shut she turned to me and said, “I’m assuming you didn’t bring anything sexy enough to seduce a man?”
“Uh no I didn’t think I would need.”
“No matter, I planned ahead.” Lily said on a sigh as she pulled out a stunning red and gold trimmed matching bra and panty set. She also handed me a gold robe with red trim. “I hope you have a wonderful night. By the way Molly and I will want details later.”
I kissed Lily on the cheek then we headed back into the main room where everyone else was waiting for us. All it took was one look at Sirius to know I had made the right choice. “Sirius would you walk me to my room?” I asked, desperately trying not to catch Remus’s eye. I knew that I would have to deal with Remus’s disappointment at some point, but for now I wanted to enjoy a romantic evening with the father of my child and the man I love.
“Of course. I would be honored.” Sirius replied sounding more than a little surprise. We didn’t say much on the walk back to my room. “Well I guess this is goodnight.” Sirius said awkwardly after kissing me on the cheek.
“It doesn’t have to be. Would you like to stay the night?” I asked feeling like a girl taking a man to her bed for the first time.
“I would like that very much.” He replied as I opened the door.
The night ended perfectly. Sirius was as loving and as sweet as he had ever been, maybe even sweeter. The next morning we all had a lazy breakfast in the café down the street before we apparated home. As wonderful as the last day had been it was always nice to come home again. We had barely walked inside when, “Mama, Daddy! Charlie, Percy their home!” Bill called.
“Aunt Isa! Uncle Remus!” Percy called immediately running to us.
“Did you bring us any gifts from Paris Daddy?” Charlie asked as he scrambled into his father’s arms.
“Not this time. Sorry boys. Bonjour Madame Evans, Madame Jones.”
“Bonjour Arthur. Welcome home darling.” My mother said she kissed my cheek. “I believe this belongs to you.” She chuckled as she handed me my son.
“Hello my little one. I’ve missed you terribly.”
“Isabella can I?” Sirius asked as he came up next to me.
“Of course, he is your son after all.” I replied as I handed Justice to him. The rest of the day passed smoothly enough. Soon it was time for the Weasley clan to head home and for the rest of us to go to bed.
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