(Highlight to View) Warning(s): Vocabulary and brief nudity.
(Highlight to View) Prompt: Hermione and Severus fight over the very idea of a gender reveal.
Summary: After arguing over a Gender Reveal party, Severus sets out to surprise Hermione with the sex of their first child. What could possibly go wrong?
"I'm sorry, you want to do a what?"
"A gender reveal."
"Where on earth did you hear about one of those?"
"I believe the site is called MyTube or TubeThis or something like that? It was on the Internet. It had a lot of strange videos."
"YouTube and why do you want to do a gender reveal?"
"It looked interesting. And I thought you might like to share what we're having with your friends and family."
"Severus, that's very sweet, but I'm not really interested. Why can't we just wait until the baby is born like my parents had to do with me?"
Severus Snape frowned and looked at his cup of tea. He really didn't want to admit that he thought doing a gender reveal looked fun and he really wanted to do one. The excitement on the new parents' faces as the pink or blue material was revealed had struck something warm inside of him. He rather enjoyed seeing a couple where the family was a house full of boys and they finally had a girl. Granted, that one had reminded him of the Weasleys, but he was willing to overlook the similarities. He glanced up. Hermione was still waiting for an answer.
"I don't like surprises," he muttered, hoping she would accept that.
"I know you don't but what does that have to do with a party that reveals the sex of our child?"
Severus eyed his wife carefully. While his response had been true, he really didn't like surprises, that wasn't a valid excuse for why he wanted to do the party. Straightening his shoulders, he prepared to do something vastly un-Slytherin: speak bluntly.
"I just thought it might be nice to know what we're having. You were complaining the other day about not knowing how to decorate the nursery since you don't know if it's a boy or a girl. And you were so excited last week when Mrs. Potter told you what she and Potter were having. So, I just thought you would want to find out the sex of our baby, too."
Hermione sighed and rubbed her hand over her round stomach. Severus tensed. He knew that sigh. It usually meant he was going to have to either really provide the proof with cross referenced materials or he was going to have to admit defeat and accept her decision as final.
"I notice you keep saying 'you' as in 'me'. I'm not the one who wants to do this. You are, Severus. So why? What is it about a gender reveal that has you so adamant in doing one?"
"I want something, just once, to go as planned with our children. Knowing whether we're having a boy or a girl will help us to better plan for the future. We'll know what to buy. We'll have a name already picked out. Our stress level will be reduced and you can relax and I can focus on work."
There, that sounded reasonable enough, right?
Hermione eyed him silently for a moment. Severus braced himself for her rejoinder.
"Gender reveals are parties, Severus, you are aware of that, right? You invite your friends and family over and cake is eaten and games are played before the big event. You hate parties!"
"Yes, but this will be a party we plan, Hermione. This won't be some overly pouf-ed up event that Albus concocted or some trumped up event by the Ministry. We can invite just our closest friends and you can invite your parents. It will be small and manageable. Just like our Christmas party. The one you insist on every year."
"And you hate that party, too! What will really make a gender reveal party any different?"
"No alcohol," Severus answered with a smirk.
Hermione's brow rose, reminiscent of his own. "And you think that's going to stop someone from bringing any? Or better yet, will anyone even come, then?"
"They'll know what will happen if they do and they will come since they care about you," he growled. "Us, I mean they care about us!"
"Severus, honestly, this is not something you really want to do. You will have to plan all of the events. Will you be the only one to know what we're having? Will we both know and this is just a surprise for our friends and family? Will someone else know and be expected to plan the event?"
Severus swallowed. This was starting to sound like more work than he really cared for. But, then he remembered the excitement of the new parents and their friends. This wasn't just some party thrown together for the sake of getting drunk and meeting those friends and family who you never saw the rest of the year. This was something to share as their family grew. A chance to really acknowledge that they were having a baby!
"Everyone seems so happy in the videos," he said softly. "I want that kind of happiness for us."
"Oh, Severus. Geez, why did you have to do that! Now I'm getting all weepy, damn it! Fine, you can do your stupid gender reveal, but I will not help. You will have to decide if only you are going to know or if you are going to have someone else know to plan the party. I insist on being one of the ones surprised!"
Severus eyed his wife critically. That had been a little too easy, he thought. Neither of them had even raised their voice. Granted, she was much more emotional thanks to the over abundance of hormones, but still, she usually gave at least five reasons for her side of the argument before conceding.
She rose from her seat and took her teacup to the sink. She paused behind him and leaned over. "One last thing. Don't even think about filming this."
Severus suppressed a shiver as her warning filtered into his brain. Her hot breath against his ear was evocative but her tone was arctic.
"Yes, Dear," he forced out.
She smiled, kissed his cheek, and left to go watch some television and knit.
Severus let out his breath and pressed his palms against his eyes. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all.
The first thing to do, Severus decided the next day, was to choose the best activity for the reveal. He didn't want it to be the same as all of the ones he'd watched on YouTube, but neither did he want it to be too difficult to do.
"Maybe I should have a couple of activities, just in case," he muttered. He'd seen too many of the box pull reveal go wrong. How hard, really, was it to make sure the box wasn't sealed too tightly or that the string was affixed well enough that it wouldn't come off when pulled?
So, he went to the computer and logged on to the Internet. It was time to watch some gender reveal videos with the intention of taking notes.
He set up his notebook and grabbed a pen. Hermione was once again watching the television while knitting, so he didn't think she would disturb him. If he didn't have to go into work the next day, he would have waited to do his research when she would be at work. But, they'd decided that with Hermione's pregnancy, it was best that she cut down her hours at their Apothecary so that she didn't over work herself. Plus, the Healer she was seeing had warned that over exposure to some of the more dangerous ingredients could be harmful to the baby while in utero.
So, Severus found himself working longer hours at the shop so that Hermione could spend more time resting at home. Not, he knew, that she was really resting in the way he was sure the Healer expected her to. But, that also meant that Hermione was home during the day more than Severus except on the weekends, like today, so his free time was limited.
Over the next hour, Severus watched various gender reveal events play out on YouTube. Blue and pink question mark piñatas were smashed revealing the colored confetti and ribbons. Boxes were pulled open with blue and pink balloons falling out. Cakes were cut to reveal blue or pink food coloring inside. Smoke bombs of the appropriate color were set off. Severus thought those looked rather interesting and wondered briefly if George Weasley could be talked into creating something, but then he worried the smoke might be dangerous to inhale. Granted, the mothers-to-be seemed fine in the videos, but he wasn't taking any chances on his own wife and unborn child.
While there had been a few interesting looking activities (darts thrown at balloons with pink or blue paint or confetti inside and the piñata), most of the activities he saw just felt bland and over done. He wanted to do something unique, or at least something that hadn't been done over a hundred times. He needed to get creative.
A glance at the clock showed that it was almost time for lunch. Hermione would be hungry and his own stomach growled plaintively at him. Sighing, he shut off the computer and put his notes into a drawer of his desk. There was no point leaving them out where Hermione might see them. He knew she'd given him permission to do the gender reveal party, but he also knew it had been given reluctantly so he wasn't going to leave reminders of her defeat in plain view.
"What have you been doing all day?" Hermione asked as Severus set a plate with a turkey sandwich and some salt and vinegar crisps in front of her.
Severus froze for a millisecond before answering.
"Just some research online." It wasn't a lie.
"Anything I can help you with?" she asked hopefully.
Severus shook his head. "It's not the kind of research you would be interested in."
Hermione gave him a questioning look before her face went blank with understanding. "Ah, I see. Well, I'll leave you to it then."
Severus cursed silently. This wasn't how he wanted this to go, damn it! He wanted her to actually be looking forward to this event. Hell, it was an excuse for her to see her annoying friends! Well, Bill Weasley and his family weren't too bad and Severus actually got along quite well with his in-laws, but he still had trouble being in the same room as Ronald and Harry. Harry's wife, the former Luna Lovegood, was strange but interesting. And Ginny Weasley had actually married Draco, so he'd at least have Draco to talk to.
But it was his own wife that seemed to be the problem! Why did she really not want a gender reveal party? She wasn't going to be in charge of the blasted thing! Did she think he wasn't going to do it well? Did she not want to know the sex of their baby? Based on her complaints, as he'd mentioned to her, she seemed to want to know if for no other reason than to make shopping and decorating easier. Was she worried about the stress of a party? Didn't women have baby showers all the time? Hermione hadn't had one yet, so why couldn't this double as one?
"Yes?" She didn't look at him but continued to read the book she'd brought to the table.
"Is there already going to be a party for the baby? Is that why you don't want to do a gender reveal?"
Hermione frowned and looked up at him. "What?"
"Are your friends throwing you a baby shower? Is that why you are so adamant about not having a gender reveal party?"
"Honestly, Severus, you know me better than that. If Ginny and Luna were throwing a baby shower, I would have said something. I just don't like parties. I never have, you know that! Think back to our wedding. How long was the reception?"
"An hour, but you insist on having a Christmas party every year!" he pointed out.
"Because when Harry and Ron planned them before, they were a complete disaster! At least when we host it, we know the food will be edible and there will be plenty of it."
"That's because you have it catered," he pointed out.
"Exactly! Poor Molly is a wonderful cook but she shouldn't have to do it twice for Christmas."
"Are you saying Molly's food was inedible when Potter and Weasley did the parties before?" Severus asked with a teasing grin.
"No, but she certainly was never told exactly how many people were going to be at the event so she didn't make enough. She was so embarrassed! Wait, you were there for the second one, don't you remember?"
Severus laughed and leaned back in his chair. "I remember hearing some yelling from the kitchen that I hadn't heard in years. I never knew Molly had that kind of language in her."
"Harry may not have known how many people were going to show up for that first year, but Ron certainly should have for the second year. He was the one who sent out the invitations! He even had the reply list. Thank God Kreacher was able to assist with what was available while Molly went out to get more food. After that, I told them I would handle the party from then on."
"And then I married you so it became a joint event, I see."
Hermione smiled and reached over to grab his hand. "And I love you even more because you haven't complained about it after ten years of marriage."
Severus smiled back and leaned over to kiss her softly. He placed both of their hands over her stomach and grinned against her mouth as their baby kicked.
"Baby Snape is awake, I see," he rumbled, leaning down to speak to the baby.
"Baby Snape is a regular circus performer," his wife grumbled.
Severus grinned up at her before pressing a soft kiss to her stomach. His wife might not want a gender reveal party, but it was nice to know it wasn't because something was already planned.
A week later, Severus looked at his list of gender reveal activities. Frowning, he realized he was not going to be able to do this by himself. Not if he wanted to do all of them. He didn't even know where he might be able to find some of the things on his list. The question then, was whom should he ask for help? Potter or Draco?
He thought over the pros and cons for each young man. Potter was familiar with the Muggle world where Draco was not. Draco could keep a secret whereas Potter had a terrible poker face. Well, he decided, he himself was familiar enough with the Muggle world thanks to his wife and he could probably order some of the stuff online. Therefore, Draco was the obvious choice.
Plus, Draco was infinitely much easier to get along with, being Slytherin and all that.
Decision made, Severus set about procuring the necessary items that couldn't be readily made or found around the house.
"Hermione, darling, I'm going to run a few errands. Is there anything you want me to get for you while I'm out?"
Hermione was on the sofa, not watching the television this time, but taking notes for one of her pet research projects. He wasn't sure which one it was, she had so many going at once now, but she was rather adorable surrounded by pillows, parchment and at least two quills stuck haphazardly in her tossed up hair. She was using her stomach as a table. Hopefully Baby Snape wasn't being too active. Hermione was a right bitch when her notes were messed up due to being jostled or interrupted. He thought about suggesting she use the lapboard on the floor next to her feet, but he rather liked his testicles where they were and she seemed happy enough.
"Hmm? Out?" Hermione asked, distracted as she wrote something in her notebook.
"Yes, out. To run some errands. Do you need or want anything?"
"I…uh, no I don't think so, Love."
Severus went to get his lightweight jacket then returned to the living room. He checked that he had his wallet, that it contained both Muggle and Wizarding money, and that he had his wand in the new arm holster Hermione had purchased for him for their last anniversary. Then, he waited.
"Oh, Severus, have you left yet? If you're going out, could you get me some Strawberries and Cream ice cream? And some of that freesia scented lotion you bought me for Christmas. I'm almost out and the scent does wonders for my nausea!"
"Of course, my dear. If there's one thing I can say about Mrs. Ronald Weasley, it's that she has excellent calming scents and lotions," Severus said with a smirk.
It was true. Lavender Brown nee Weasley had opened up a charming little shop in Diagon Alley that catered to those in need of soothing scents and herbal remedies. Nothing narcotic but all natural and many a pregnant woman had found relief from nausea, swelling ankles and lower back pain thanks to Mrs. Weasley's products. Mrs. Weasley might not have been the best at Potions, but she'd been competent enough and her study of the healing power of crystals and herbs from her Divination classes had helped her to develop a very successful business.
"I'm going to be stopping by to see Draco while I'm out as well. So, I might be a little late for dinner."
"Okay. Tell him I said hi, and ask Ginny if there's any news on her end for me, or at least tell her to write or stop by soon."
"Yes, dear," Severus rumbled. He leaned over the sofa and pressed a quick kiss to her cheek. Hermione grinned and turned her head for a proper kiss.
Severus smiled, ran a finger softly down her cheek and then made his way to the Apparation room to Apparate to London.
His first stop was to St. Mungo's to see Healer Montgomery. Thankfully the reception area was blessedly quiet. He waited for the receptionist to acknowledge him impatiently since she seemed to feel a conversation with her coworker was more important. He was half tempted to pretend a severe illness just to get her attention.
"Yes, how may I help you today?" she finally asked, turning to look up at him.
"I am hoping to speak with Healer Muriel Montgomery if she has a moment," he replied.
"Do you have an appointment, sir?"
"Then what is the nature of your visit?"
Severus bit back a biting retort. He took a deep breath before replying. "I just want to get a copy of the report that details the sex of my child."
The woman's eyebrow rose and she gave a rather rude assessment of his body. Severus scowled at her the scowl that had caused many a Hogwarts student to burst into tears or run away terrified. How dare she assume no woman would want to be with him sexually! He might not have a face worthy of Witch Weekly's cover, but Hermione found him quite attractive, thank you very much! He clearly had not lost his touch as the receptionist jerked and looked down to her clipboard.
"I'll have to see if she is available, Mr…?"
"Snape, Severus," he grit out.
Her head jerked up at that. Clearly she recognized the name but she was too young for him to have taught her.
"Of…of course Mr. Snape. I'll send for Healer Montgomery right away. Please have a seat."
Severus turned and sat down in one of the empty seats. A young mother and her daughter sat a few seats over, reading a picture book quietly to each other. Severus found himself watching them avidly. One day he would be doing just that with his own child. He found the idea…not distasteful.
"Mr. Snape, how are you? Is everything alright with Hermione?"
Severus looked up and rose smoothly to his feet. Healer Montgomery was a woman in her seventies with a short bob of iron gray hair and sharp hazel eyes. She was very short but Severus could feel the power of her magic even several feet away.
"My wife is doing splendidly, though chafing at the bit to do something more active," he said.
"I bet! She does know that she doesn't have to stay cooped up in the house, correct? I told her to stay out of the Apothecary for a few days a week, not to go on bed rest!" Montgomery laughed.
Severus felt his lips twitch. "Indeed. I shall remind her when I return home."
"Wonderful. Now, what was it you wanted to speak to me about?"
"I was just hoping to get a copy of the record that lists the sex of our baby."
Healer Montgomery's eyebrows rose. "I thought you two had decided to wait until the birth."
Severus felt his cheeks burn. He cleared his throat. "I…uh… discovered this thing called a Gender Reveal. It appears to be all the rage with Muggles."
"Ah, I've heard of those. And your wife is okay with this?"
"I did have to do a little persuasion, but she's agreed to it, yes."
"Well, not that it's any trouble to me. Give me minute and I'll get that record for you."
Severus waited for several minutes before Healer Montgomery returned. She held an envelope in her hand.
"Do I owe anything for this?" Severus asked, pocketing the envelope.
"Nah, it's just paper made from a duplication charm. Oh, remind Hermione she has an appointment with me next Thursday. Will we be seeing you there as well?"
"Most likely, unless something at the shop prevents me. By the way, the Gender Reveal is for Hermione and our friends and family. I haven't decided when it will be just yet, but I doubt it will be before next Thursday so, don't reveal anything to her."
"Gotcha! Your secret is still safe with me. Enjoy the rest of your day, Severus!"
Severus nodded and left to make his way to Diagon Alley. He paused just outside St. Mungo's and took a deep breath. He was surprised to see his hands shaking as he opened the envelope. With a second breath, which he held this time, he opened the report. He was shocked to feel tears pricking his eyes upon seeing the sex of his baby. It wasn't like it was going to be something other than a boy or a girl, but seeing those letters spelled out in black and white next to a sonogram with arrows and circles pointing out the genitalia just seemed to hit home the fact that he and Hermione were having a baby. A living, breathing piece of themselves that they would raise and nurture.
He let out the breath he'd been holding slowly before tucking the paper back into the envelope. He returned the envelope to his pocket, swallowed the lump in his throat, and then turned and Apparated to Diagon Alley.
Severus stood staring out into his backyard. When he and Hermione had purchased the cottage in Snape Village, Suffolk eight years ago, the backyard had been one of its deciding features. To the right were the three small greenhouses that they used to grow and curate their potions ingredients. A small garden was planted in the far back right corner behind the last greenhouse. They had several fruit trees and, thanks to magic, were able to grow some that were not indigenous to England.
The rest of the yard was mowed and kept neat and tidy and now Severus looked at it with the eye of impending parenthood. Would his child expect a swing set or some sort of playhouse? Was the yard big enough for more children to play in? Would he need to ward the greenhouses and garden to keep the children out?
"Where do you want this?"
His thoughts were interrupted by Draco appearing at his side with a large wooden board that had numerous silhouettes of the heads and upper body of women painted in white. It was for the balloon dart game. Severus glanced at it before looking back over the yard.
"There near the back, towards the trees. No sense in throwing a dart and it going into someone by mistake."
"Right, because Potter doesn't need more holes in his head," Draco smirked.
"Don't say that within Hermione's hearing," Severus warned with a smirk of his own.
Draco shuddered and set the board down. He stood back to look at it.
"What is this for again?"
"There will be pink and blue balloons attached to it with colored paint to match the sex of the baby."
"Ah, right, now I remember. Wait, will the paint be in all of the balloons?" Draco asked incredulously. "Won't that sort of defeat the challenge of the game when the first person to pop a balloon reveals the color?"
"Not all of the balloons will have the colored paint. All but one will have white."
"Potter is going to get so frustrated with that, assuming he can even hit one of the balloons," Draco laughed.
"Are you planning on turning this event into a pissing competition with Potter?"
Draco looked at him and clearly realized Severus was not pleased. He shook his head and Severus relaxed again.
"It's just so much fun to rile him up. He doesn't get angry as much any more."
"I think that's a very good thing. I wouldn't want an Auror assisting me if he lost his temper all the time. I lost too many good potions ingredients when a short tempered Auror felt the need to let his anger out on my products."
"I suspect its all Lovegood's doing. She always was a bit of an odd duck but she listens and has a soothing personality. It was helpful during some dark times."
Severus knew Draco was referring to the time during his 7th year when Luna was being held prisoner at Malfoy Manor. He was grateful that Miss Lovegood had offered solace the young man. Draco might not have been family to Severus, but he had known Draco since he was born and he felt like a nephew sometimes.
The moment suddenly felt rather depressing for party planning.
"Do you flirt and talk like that to your own wife or only when you are referring to Potter's?"
Draco flushed a rather unbecoming red and punched Severus in the arm. "Git! Don't go telling Ginny I got all mushy over the Potters! I'll never hear the end of it."
Severus laughed before directing Draco to hanging up the piñata.
"Somehow, this just seems wrong," Draco muttered as he lifted the piñata string up over a tree limb.
"I wanted it to be unique," Severus said, as he wrapped the homemade lollipops into cellophane. "I never saw one like that in any of the videos."
"Well, it's unique all right. Not to mention a little confusing. Shouldn't the piñata be one color?"
"The candy inside should be."
"Wait, you don't know? That doesn't sound like you, Severus. Usually you check things three times before going with it."
"It came pre-filled," Severus snapped, annoyed that he hadn't been able to figure out how to check without destroying the thing.
Draco gave the piñata a questioning look but shrugged and came back over to the table on the patio where Severus had most of the other games.
"Take this list and go around to everything on it and put this charm on them."
"Won't I know what the sex of the baby is if I do this? I really wanted to find out later."
Severus frowned at the slight whine in the younger man's voice. "The color will be revealed during the game. I will say the activation charm. You are just putting the dormant charm that will reveal the color on the items."
Draco read over the spell and his brows rose. "Did you create this spell?"
Severus glared at him. "Of course I did. There isn't something like that already, so I had to make my own."
While Draco went around the yard charming various flora, fauna, and sundry items, Severus dyed the confetti filled eggs. Draco had filled the eggs with colored confetti already. Frowning, Severus paused. Draco had just said he wanted to find out the sex of the baby through the games but he'd filled the eggs. Surely he would know the sex already? Well, it didn't matter now. The eggs were filled and Draco was just going to have to pretend he didn't know.
Severus looked up from the cake he was carefully levitating to the table. It was protected under a glass dome to keep it preserved for tomorrow, but it would be easier to hide from Hermione if it wasn't in the kitchen. He swore the hormones were turning her into a shark that could sniff out sweets no matter how far away. Thankfully, he'd convinced Molly into providing the rest of the food for the party. He'd even told her a larger number of guests just to be sure there was extra.
"That's a rather interesting looking cake. Any significance?" Draco asked, suggestively.
"While I will say Hermione is known to be a bit explosive sometimes, this cake will actually erupt colored lava."
"But it will be safe to eat, right?"
"Of course. Many kids have these for their birthdays or do them for science faire projects."
"Right. Well, what else do you need help with?"
"Build the bon fire in the fire pit."
"Am I lighting it, too?" Draco asked incredulously.
"No, just get it ready for tomorrow."
"What are we doing with the fire?"
"Well, it's autumn so it will provide some warmth, obviously. It's supposed to be rather chilly tomorrow, unfortunately. Otherwise, you'll just have to wait and see." He turned to hide his smile of excitement.
Draco paused in his arranging the wood to look up at Severus curiously. "You're really enjoying this aren't you?"
"I assure you, this has not been very fun at all," Severus growled, wiping the smile off of his face.
"No, no, you are hiding it well, but you are actually looking forward to this party tomorrow!"
Severus scowled as the younger man laughed. So what if he was enjoying himself? Yes, deciding on the games and buying or making the pieces wasn't much fun, that had been rather stressful as he tried to keep the details secret from his wife, but overall, he was really looking forward to seeing Hermione's face when she discovered what they were having. He wanted to revel in the joy of seeing their friends and family sharing this moment with his wife. Hermione might not have wanted a party or to even know the sex of their baby, but he suspected Hermione might be scared that he would be disappointed. What if the party didn't go the way he wanted it to? What if, once they found out the sex, they were disappointed?
Severus was perfectly happy with a boy or a girl, but Hermione, he knew, had some strange idea that he wanted a boy: an heir. What did that matter? A girl could inherit anything just as much as a boy could. They'd argued over that several times since finding out they were having a baby and it had been argued over again just the other night when Hermione was worrying about the party. Severus had finally set her down and explained (again) that just because the Wizarding world was very Victorian in manners and dress, that did not mean it was Victorian in the way of inheritance laws.
She'd relented, as she always did, so Severus hoped that was the last time they would have that argument.
He put the last game up and sighed happily. The final game was a board listing numerous Old Wives' tales for determining if a woman was carrying a boy or a girl. Severus thought it would be a nice final game so that everyone could sit and eat or relax while laughing and guessing which tale held true for Hermione. He tried to be a bit sneaky with the tales, ensuring that the ones that would reveal the sex were more obvious when looking at Hermione. Granted, with guests like Harry Potter, Neville Longbottom, and Ronald Weasley, they would need the help.
He'd actually had some help of his own with obtaining the tales from Harry's wife. She'd been a rather fount of knowledge about obscure tales and the stories behind them. He'd had to endure two hours of listening to Luna, but in the end, he felt it was worth it. Even if he did go online to "verify" as many of the tales as possible. No point in using a tale that no one had ever heard of just because it had proved true for when Luna's mother was carrying her.
Finally, he moved onto the last event, though it wasn't one of the games.
"Help me with this photo booth," Severus called.
He'd rented an odd little photo booth that came with several disposable cameras, several backdrops, and costumes and props. The guests could dress up and take pictures with each other or the hosts could take pictures of the events if they didn't own a camera. Severus wanted it to be something the guests could enjoy in between games.
"That's the last one," he announced, dusting off his jeans as he rose from hammering the drop cloth down.
"Finally! Now, I think you owe me something for my help."
Severus sneered but led Draco into the house. No Slytherin worth his salt ever did something for nothing. As Severus led the younger man back into the cottage, he found himself quite pleased with the presentation of the games for tomorrow. Nothing, he thought, could go wrong!
How had everything gone so wrong?
This thought flew through Severus' mind over and over as each game played ended in disaster. The Scavenger Hunt had been unsuccessful since the charm he'd created had not worked to reveal the color. Draco had muttered that he might have misspoken some of the words.
Fine, that game was scrapped, though it had gotten the guests up and moving and the children had had fun running around trying to collect the items on the lists for their parents. No one was upset about that since it was a rather nice day, if a bit chilly. It was early October after all. So, they'd moved onto another game.
Darts. No one was hit by a wayward or poorly thrown dart, but apparently Severus had not grabbed the paint filled balloon that had the correct color. As each balloon popped, more and more white paint splattered and hit the tarp on the ground. Mr. Granger threw a dart at the last balloon only to reveal more white paint.
"Is this an immaculate birth then?" his father-in-law quipped with a grin.
While most of the guests had laughed, Severus had been very embarrassed. And it just went further downhill from there.
The piñata, a pink and blue striped sperm, had cracked open under Ron's swing to reveal normal packaged candy.
"Where are the colored wrappers?" he demanded, pushing his way through the scrambling crowd to look at the candy.
"Are you sure they were supposed to be colored, Severus?" Hermione asked, with a raised brow. She accepted an individually wrapped Mars bar from Ginny Malfoy.
"They specialize in this, damn it! Why would they think we wanted regular candy?" he spat.
"Don't yell at me; I'm not the one who didn't double check the contents. There is a little flap on piñatas for just that reason, you know."
Severus growled and spun away, cheeks flushed with embarrassment. No, he hadn't known! No one seemed too upset over the candy and most were quite happily eating the chocolate bars.
The colored lollies he'd made had bled into an odd purple-brown, even if they did taste good.
"How were these supposed to work?" Arthur Weasely asked, curiously.
"A layer about halfway through the lolly had the revealing color, but it's apparently blended with the outer layer," Severus admitted morosely.
The Volcano cake hadn't erupted even if it did still taste delicious. The bonfire had yielded strange greenish colors when the color changing chemicals had been thrown in. Severus really regretted not asking George for help with that one. The confetti filled eggs had been filled with a mixture of blue and pink confetti. Severus had yelled at Draco for that one, too.
"In my defense, you only said that all of the eggs should have the same confetti. You didn't specify which color!"
"Then you should have asked! If I had known you were going to be this incompetent of an assistant, I would have asked Potter! I expect this level from him!" Severus hissed, feeling a very strong urge to strangle the boy.
"Severus, please, it was an honest mistake!" Hermione tried to calm them down but Severus was not having it. Instead, he left the party to go inside to cool off away from everyone.
He stayed inside for nearly ten minutes. The guests were still laughing and talking and eating, so they clearly weren't too upset. But Gods, why did this have to happen for the very first time he ever planned something? He had just wanted this day to be special for Hermione! Yes, she hadn't wanted the party, but she had been laughing and giving him knowing looks every time one of the games failed to reveal the gender of the baby.
Taking a deep breath, he returned to the party to begin the final game: the Old Wives' Tale game. Surely this couldn't go wrong!
The Fates and Gods were not looking out for one Severus Alexander Snape. Hermione patiently answered questions and allowed the guests to look at her from all angles to determine the answers to the game. And yet, when Severus had decided on the tales, he'd purposefully chosen ones that were for the correct gender. So then, why, why damn it, did the game end in a tie of 6-6? And why were Potter and Ginny arguing over the answers like it was a life or death situation?
"So does this mean you're having twins? A boy and girl?" Molly Weasley asked, her face lighting up with excitement.
"No! It means this whole day has been nothing but a disaster! Why the hell can't one thing show what the sex of our baby is without my having to just say it?"
"Sorry I'm late, we had a sudden rush at the store. Hey, how come I'm the only one naked at this gender reveal thing?"
All eyes turned to the newcomer. Severus felt as though the Gods had finally given him a break. He grabbed the small frame prop from the photo booth (the only event actually working correctly, he noted) and hurried over to the late guest.
"This, this is what we're having!" he shouted, placing the frame right over the naked genitals of one George Weasley.
There was a moment of stunned silence while everyone tried to figure out if they should look or not.
"A boy, how wonderful! I'm sure you'll be delightful parents," Luna Potter commented serenely, her 'I'm Just Here For The Sex' shirt rather incongruous, yet appropriate for the event stretched over her own slightly rounded stomach.
Severus gave an almost desperately grateful look at the blonde woman.
"A boy? We're having a boy?"
Severus turned his attention back to his wife. Hermione was looking at him with such a look of pleasure that he suddenly felt terrible for acting out so much. He lowered the frame, suddenly very self-conscious that his hands were so close to the naked genitalia of George Weasley.
"Yes," he said, his throat suddenly tight.
"Oh, I'm so happy! Thank you, love, for doing this! I honestly didn't realize just how much I really wanted to know until now!"
Hermione pulled him close and kissed him hard. Their friends and family cheered and laughed while Molly berated her son and demanded he put some pants on and George asked Luna where she'd gotten the shirt.
The gender reveal party might not have gone as planned, and he might have done well just to have listened to Hermione in the first place, but as he stood watching his friends and family talking and laughing over something he'd done, he couldn't stay mad. He placed his hand over the firmness of his wife's belly and felt his heart turn when his son kicked.
"Remind me of this when I decide to try this again for the next one," he muttered in Hermione's ear.
"Oh, don't worry dear, I have photos for that."
Damn, he knew he shouldn't have done the photo booth!