An unearthly sight would have met either dweller of the house had he peered out the windows and down over the cliff at the crashing waves beneath him: from the roiling depths of the water rose a massive, iridescent shell upon which rode an ancient, hoary traveller, spear in one mighty hand. What pulled this "chariot" would not have greeted the eyes of any watcher—even those of a wizard—and for the sake of his soul, the rider's prey, too, would have remained unseen, it being too great and terrible a thing for mortal comprehension. Oh, but the fearless, mysterious hunter, he saw everything around him, e'en behind walls of water and rock, earth and wood; he sensed the frail, ephemeral heartbeats of all creatures within his influence and knew as well all their dreams and prayers. His spear striking true, the rider, made savagely glad in victory and howling his triumph in a call that drowned the storm's blustering winds, saw fit to gift the mortal inhabitants coupling above him with a wish made flesh.
With flesh, as with blood and bone, would come suffering, but it would be brief and quickly forgot in the resultant joy—and a thrice-fathered daughter of Nodens would come to see in the world that which was hidden from her lesser brethren, those fragile, near-sentient vessels who knew nothing of the true magic of the cosmos.
"—uck, oh, yes, please, I can't, I wa—hat . . . hell?"
Severus went rigid as he thrust Harry into the door one last time and came. Fucking cat! Wrong side of the door at the worst fucking time!
As Harry struggled out of their embrace and moved shakily to open the door, however, Severus realised that no animal could have made the sound that had just penetrated it. He forced himself to straighten and summoned his wand just as Harry's screams of pain washed in with the storm.
The sting of the rain was bearable, just, as Harry opened the door and called for the cat, but he didn't feel Bastard—who'd been rather badly named as it had turned out—run in over his foot to escape the squall. Determined to find her, he looked out into the driving drench of the darkness and heard more than saw the indistinct shape looming over the cottage—and then the wave slammed him back, rolling him into the house on a sluice of hot foam. Water, sand, driftwood, something entirely unexplainable, swirled over his body, into his body, and then all Harry knew was the sound of his own terror as his body changed, changed and grew and twisted out of shape.
When true darkness came, he was glad of it.
As the infant first drew breath to scream, the waters subsided, the rain ceased, and dawn rose. Severus, astounded and kneeling by Harry—Oh, gods, Harry!—held the healthy girl in his arms and marvelled at the way her eyes were the ever-transforming blue of the sea.
Not possible . . . born so fast . . . like . . . this.
Severus' thoughts were confused, disjointed—until Bastard appeared and rubbed herself along his knees.
"Stupid cat," he said, without meaning it.
Harry awoke to find Severus holding a baby.
"Is that a . . . did we just have a . . . ."
Pushing himself up, it was impossible to deny that it was Severus' baby.
And given his transformation and . . . birthing experience, he knew, despite how incredible it seemed, that the child was also his. "But how? How the fuck did this happen? Did . . . did you do something to me?" Harry demanded, in spite of the overwhelming desire to take the infant from Severus and cradle her to his chest.
Bastard settled herself in his lap and purred, and Harry's shock subsided as Severus leant against him to share the holding of the baby.
"Of the sea," murmured Severus.
"No . . . no shite."
"Morgan, then?" Severus asked, and Harry realised then that Severus had just shared the name's meaning with him.
Because he doesn't know anything else to say. Doesn't know what happened.
They looked at each other with wide, uncomprehending eyes. Harry smiled first.
Bastard purred more loudly, Severus's body relaxed against his, and Harry tried to remember what he'd just felt—and that was, over the fading physical memory of something utterly impossible, the sensation of Severus taking him, thick and hot, against the door to their home. Gazing down at Morgan, at their daughter, he tried to clear his thoughts of sex; thinking about sex while holding an infant seemed altogether wrong.
"Ever changed a nappy before?"
"Oh, for the love of—that is disgusting!"
The humans returned to their dwelling, and Bast, bidding her young to emerge from it, led them down to the shore to feast on the lumpen, bird-ridden carcass of the horror that the Elder God had purged from the untold depths of the sea. Her place, a safe place to raise her own babies, was assured now that the humans had young of their own, and as they ate, she taught her children how to give thanks for their good fortune.
The prayer was nothing more difficult than a gratified purr.