A/N: I was, quite frankly, surprised at the number of people asked me for a sequel. Here is the sequel to The Trouble with being a Professor. Hope you all like it!
Disclaimer: I own nothing (except for my own characters)… especially not Harry Potter
The Trouble with Being a Parent
Chapter One – Seth and Maria Simpson
Miranda stood in the deli line at the Muggle grocery shop, a slip with the number 74 between her pointer and middle fingers and her hands behind her back. The sign reading "Now Serving", which was hung up on the wall, now bore the number 72 in red, glowing letters. Miranda sighed and noiselessly tapped her foot to the tune of "We Are Family", which was drifting out of the grocery store speakers. Standing in front of her was a good-looking young man with short brown hair and a polo shirt. The deli man behind the counter hit a button and the numbers on the "Now Serving" sign changed from 72 to 73.
"Seventy three!" the deli man called.
"That's me," the good-looking man said, holding up his ticket.
"What can I do for you?"
"I'll take a pound and a half of the imported ham," the good-looking man, obviously a Muggle, said in a slightly pompous voice, as if he was a professional ham orderer.
"Right-o, sir. Coming right up."
The good-looking man turned around and his eyes fell on Miranda. She gave him a polite smile, which he returned. Then his eyes fell to her feet.
"Nice boots," the man said with a smile.
Miranda looked down and saw her once spotless, dragon-hide leather, now worn and decrepit combat boots. She looked back up.
"Thanks," she replied, grinning.
Whether Miranda's smile had enchanted him or he was just curious, the good-looking man kept his eyes on Miranda as she pulled out her wallet and began fumbling with her money. The man took a step back so that he was beside her and peered at the picture in her wallet. The picture was of a little girl sporting two dark blonde pigtails (one of which was higher than the other), a pointed wizard hat, and black robes. The little girl in the picture was holding a small cauldron in one hand and a wand in the other. The wand was emitting red sparks and the girl was laughing. In this picture, everything was moving. The good-looking man chuckled softly and Miranda looked up at him.
"Amazing technology, no?" the man said. "Moving pictures – it's like magic. I like the Halloween costume, too. The wand is so realistic. Your sister looks a lot like you."
"Oh, that's not my sister," Miranda said pleasantly, smiling warmly. "That's my daughter."
The man's mouth dropped open and he quickly laughed to cover it up. He ran a hand through his nice hair and winked at Miranda, who was trying not to laugh as well.
"Kids, huh? I like that in a woman," the good-looking man said. "Why don't you and I get together sometime? I know a great theater over in –"
The man was interrupted suddenly when a woman came bustling over with a shopping cart. She thrust a package of boxers into his hands.
"Ryan, have they taken our order yet?" the woman said.
The good-looking man blushed slightly and replied meekly, "Yes, mother."
At that moment the deli-man appeared over the counter-top, holding the order.
"Here you go, sir," the deli-man said.
The woman took the meat from the deli man and pushed the cart away, talking to the good-looking man all the while. The good-looking man looked at Miranda, who smiled.
"I have a little advice for you," Miranda said kindly. "Next time you try picking up someone, do two things."
"Yes?" the man looked hopeful.
"One, make sure your mother's not around – especially if you still live with her. Two, check for a ring," Miranda said, and then held up her hand so the good-looking man could see the diamond wedding ring that she had on her finger.
The good-looking man winced and walked away, shoulders slumped.
"Seventy four!" the deli man called, and Miranda stepped up, smiling.
"I'll take the usual, Fred," Miranda said. "Only make the cheese a pound and a half. Christine's been eating like it's her last day alive, recently."
"Just a mo', Maria," the deli man said with a tip of his cap.
Miranda parked the car in the driveway of her modest home, which was in an undisclosed area of Britain. The home was white and had blue shutters, and there was a picket fence leading into the driveway, which she had hit many times with her car. Miranda sighed somewhat happily and somewhat sadly, for she knew that she would much rather be elsewhere, but this home was a good one, and the company wasn't bad, either.
Miranda got out of the car, closed the door and locked it with a prod from her finger. She walked up the walkway and opened the front door very slowly. The inside of the house was very quiet, and this unnerved Miranda ever so slightly. She soundlessly, carrying the bag of groceries in one hand, stepped into the room and closed the door behind her. Within a second, however, a scream had erupted from nowhere and something hurdled itself at Miranda, causing her to drop her bag. Miranda looked down and saw a little girl – the same girl from the picture – with her arms wrapped around her mother's legs.
"Hello Christine," said Miranda lightly, ruffling her daughter's hair.
Christine looked up at Miranda and grinned.
"Guess what Daddy got me?" Christine chirped.
"What did Daddy get you?" Miranda grew slightly nervous.
Miranda laughed and bent over to scoop up her daughter in one arm and the grocery bag in the other. She was not surprised in the least, and planted a kiss on Christine's cheek as she headed into the kitchen. She set the bag down on the table and prodded it with her finger. The items in the bag rose out and took their designated places in the kitchen. Christine chattered animatedly in her mother's arms as Miranda bustled about the kitchen.
"Where is your father?" asked Miranda to Christine.
Christine stopped talking and placed a finger on her lips, deeply in thought. Christine, being a witch, was developing motor and verbal skills far faster than Muggle children. Christine had succeeded in reading a sentence just yesterday, completely unassisted. For a five-year-old, this was quite the feat, seeing as Christine had never been to a school.
"I think he's sleeping," Christine said conclusively.
"Incorrect, Christine," Came a voice from the doorway.
Miranda turned around to see Severus standing in the doorway to the kitchen, leaning up against the frame as if he was bored, still dressed in his work clothes. After the escapade at Hogwarts, Severus and Miranda had, as they had known they would have had to do, gone into hiding. Their house was under the Fidelius Charm, and their secret-keeper was Albus Dumbledore himself. They had gotten married after a few minor fiascos and had purchased this small, yet cozy, house. There they lived as Muggles, blending in well with society. The few who knew them knew them as Seth and Maria Simpson. Severus worked as a medicine-maker of sorts, creating new medicines for people. He had faked his curriculum vitae, saying that he was a graduate from the States. He had been able to disclose documentation to prove which university he had been to, and Albus had posed as the Dean of said university on the phone. Severus was well-known for his remarkable ability to create the perfect medicine, and people often said that his work was "like magic". Strangely enough, lots of people said that the Simpsons were peculiar in this way, almost like they could do magic. But that was, of course, ridiculous.
Miranda crossed the room and hugged Severus, sighing. They walked together over to the kitchen table, Severus pausing to pick up Christine, and sat at the kitchen table. Severus set Christine down in her chair and sat himself down across from Miranda, who looked slightly bored.
"How was your day?" Miranda asked Severus, leaning her chin on her fist.
He nodded slightly.
"It was fine," Severus said. "Muggles are truly dull, though. Peter won't stop talking about his latest date with some long-legged blonde. He doesn't seem to understand that I really don't care."
Miranda chuckled. Peter was Severus' partner in work. Brilliant but young and foolish, Peter was always talking about his latest dates to Severus, who could really care less if Peter jumped off a cliff.
"Well," said Miranda slowly. "Trish is coming over soon and we're going shopping. Care to come?"
"No," Severus replied shortly.
Miranda laughed lightly.
"Oh come on, Sev, you know you want to get a new pair of slacks," Miranda teased.
"No I most certainly do not," Snapped Severus, who, as Miranda well knew, missed sorely the days of overly-dramatic, swooshing black robes.
Christine watched as her parents bickered; this did not faze her at all, because she knew that her parents were just this way. It was like their way of showing that they cared for one another. Christine pulled her lolly from her pocket and stuck it in her mouth, savoring in the splendid grape flavor. For some reason, she found that she only liked the flavor grape.
"Yes, well, what time is she arriving?" Severus asked.
"Er," started Miranda. "Well, I forgot. Hold on…"
Miranda stood up and walked over to the far wall of the kitchen, which was covered in sticky notes. She plucked a pink one off the wall and read it aloud.
"Trish. Three o' clock."
Severus looked up at the clock in the kitchen and jumped up, not at all surprised to find that Miranda had, once again, lost track of time and forgotten what she was supposed to do.
"She'll be here any minute," Severus exclaimed. "I'll fix up the house."
Severus swept into the sitting room and raised a hand outwards. He turned slowly and made a sweeping motion, causing all of the moving pictures to freeze in their frames. The mirror was made to not talk, and any trace of magic had been concealed. This was a normal procedure, though bothersome, for Miranda's friend Trish was a Muggle.
Sure enough, the second Severus let his hands fall to his sides there was a knock on the door. Severus strode over and opened the door, allowing Trish to come inside.
"Hello Seth," Trish said cheerfully, though her smile faded slightly under Severus' intense stare. "Er – where's Maria?"
"I'm right here, Trish," Miranda said, striding into the entrance hall, pulling a brown jacket on as she walked.
"Good, let's go!" Trish exclaimed, and backed out of the house and down the steps.
Miranda stopped in the doorway and gave Severus a conclusive look.
"Okay, I'm leaving. Are you sure you can handle Christine while I'm gone?" said Miranda, and Severus nodded curtly. "Alright, well, I'm off!"
With that and one last peck on the cheek, Miranda was walking down the path with Trish and climbing into Trish's classic Thunderbird. Miranda closed the door and buckled up as Trish started off towards the mall.
"No offence, Maria, but your husband gives me a weird feeling," Trish said, switching on her blinker to take a left turn.
"I mean, he's just so – so cold. Not exactly friendly," Trish explained, jerking her head to brush her blonde fringe away from her face.
"Not friendly, no," Miranda said, smiling. "He cares though, whether he shows it or not. More often not than so, but he's got a heart someplace."
"Well I think you're abarmy fool," Trish said decisively.
"That's true, and I'll take what you say," Miranda replied. "Just don't slag him to his face – it might be the last thing you ever do."
They drove on in silence for a while until the massive outline of the mall loomed ahead. Miranda felt a sudden adrenaline rush that could only be associated with the prospect of spending lots of money. After all, she and Severus were not so badly off in the money department. Miranda hadn't gone shopping in a long time, and it was beginning to show in her torn jacket. Trish looked down at Miranda's feet and groaned.
"Maria, you need to get some new shoes," Trish said. "Yours are hideous and combat boots went out of style a decade ago."
"I think not, my good friend. These boots have helped me out of more tight spots than you would imagine," retorted Miranda. "Been through a handful of doors, too. I couldn't give them up – not until the soles fall off and I can't walk in them any longer."
"Which doesn't seem all that far away."
Miranda gave an indignant sniff and looked down at her boots. When Trish had asked about the strange leather, which was dragon-hide, Miranda had told her it was from an exotic, Japanese cow. True to her word in a sense, the boots had helped her out of a tight spot five years back, when she had been taken captive by Lord Voldemort himself so that she could pass on the elusive Progenitor Veneficium. Trish parked the car and the two women got out, linked arms, and happily strolled into the mall.
Later, both weighed down by bags, Miranda and Trish headed towards the food court. Muggles always found ways of amazing Miranda, for she was a pureblood and had never even been to a Muggle store before going into hiding with Severus.
"I'm famished," Trish said, dropping into a chair at a vacant table. "Here, you stay with the bags and I'll get us something to eat."
Miranda nodded and Trish headed off for the nearest fast food chain. As Miranda looked around, she saw two people she recognized. One of them was female and the other was male. The female was not incredibly tall and had bushy brown hair. The male was gangly and freckled, with red hair that stuck out like a sore thumb. Miranda opened her mouth to call them, but remembered she was supposed to be in hiding. After a silent mental debate, Miranda stood up.
"Oh, bullocks to this! Hey, Ron! RON!"
The freckled boy spun around with the bushy-haired girl and his mouth dropped. He grabbed the girl's hand and they ran over to where Miranda was standing, grinning from ear to ear.
"Fancy seeing you here," Ron said, breathless.
"Yeah I know," Miranda said, sounding like an excited kid. "Wow, look at you two! You're all grown up – it's been a while. We've been you-know-what-ting all this time, so we haven't been seeing anybody."
"Yes, this is Ron's first time at the mall," said Hermione with a smile.
"Heh, that'll happen when you're an, er," Miranda dropped her voice lower so that nobody surrounding could hear. "Pureblood."
She straightened back up and smiled.
"So, how's Harry?"
Ron and Hermione exchanged a dark look and turned back to Miranda.
"Well, Professor –" Hermione began, but Trish chose this time to return with a tray of food.
"Professor?" Trish said incredulously. "I never knew you were a teacher, Maria!"
Ron opened his mouth to correct Trish's use of Miranda's name, but Hermione stepped on his foot.
"Oh, yes," Miranda said hastily, thinking that her decision to call out Ron and Hermione may not have been such a good one. "Yes, I taught for a year."
"What did you teach?" Trish asked, fascinated as she slurped her strawberry-pineapple smoothie.
"Er," Miranda said awkwardly, turning her eyes to Hermione for help.
"Science," Hermione said matter-of-factly.
"Yes, science," Miranda said.
Hermione looked at her watch suddenly and tugged on Ron's sleeve.
"Ron! We've gotta go, we were supposed to meet Lupin five minutes ago!" Hermione exclaimed, and Ron's eyes widened.
"Sorry Professor," Ron said, as if Miranda had not heard. "We're late. Nice to see you, though."
"And you," said Miranda, and then made meaningful eye contact with Hermione and added, "it's a shame you didn't see Miranda."
Hermione nodded and grabbed Ron's hand. Miranda saw Hermione squeeze it and Ron got the picture immediately.
"Yeah, shame," Ron said in a lamenting voice. "See you around."
"See you, Ron. Hermione."
With that, Ron and Hermione hurried off, still holding hands. When Hermione and Ron had disappeared into the family bathroom, obviously to take cover so that they could apparate, Miranda sat back down and picked a french fry from Trish's tray.
"So, Maria, tell me more about this teaching job you had," Trish said between bites of a cheeseburger and fries. "Sounds like the kids liked you."
"Ah, Trish, it was so long ago," Miranda said with a sigh. "I guess I was alright. They liked me well enough."
Trish leaned forward a little and snatched up a bottle of ketchup.
"So what kind of science did you teach?" Trish asked, pouring the ketchup onto her burger.
"Er," Miranda said. "Chemistry. Lots of different potions – properties, I mean, of course."
Trish chuckled and said, "Potions. Maria, you really need to stop reading fantasy stories to that daughter of yours."
"Heh," Miranda laughed with uncertainty. "Let's go to the swimsuit store, shall we? I need a new two-piece."
At the swimsuit store, Miranda quickly found what she had been looking for; a plain, red two piece with ties on the sides. While Miranda only took one thing, Trish was having a really hard time finding what she was looking for. Nothing, it seemed, was in her size. Miranda watched as Trish sorted through swimsuit after swimsuit and was never satisfied. Finally she grabbed the closest one in exasperation and rolled her eyes.
"Fine, I'll settle," Trish said grumpily. "To the changing room."
Miranda went into the closest changing room and quickly tried on the swimsuit. She turned to view her profile in the mirror and made a 'hmm' sound.
"Could use a little tightening here," Miranda muttered, poking at the back of the swimsuit. "A trim here. Perfect!"
Miranda had magically fitted her swimsuit so that it fit her perfectly, a feat which she had discovered how to do many, many years ago.
"Come on Maria, let me see," said an impatient Trish from the other side of the changing stall.
Miranda opened the door a crack and Trish pushed her way in, then stopped and stared, open-mouthed, at Miranda.
"Wow," Trish said, impressed. "The first one you pick out is absolutely perfect! You have a gift, Maria, it's like magic."
Miranda shrugged and ushered Trish out of the room so that she could get dressed. Afterwards, Trish tried on her swimsuit and gave an aggravated groan from inside the changing room.
"I love the design, but it just doesn't fit right!" scowled Trish. "I'm too bony!
"Let me in," Miranda said, and Trish obliged.
Trish was right, the swimsuit wasn't quite right.
"Let me see, I'll just tweak it a bit," Miranda said, and then proceeded to magically fit the swimsuit so it was perfect for Trish.
"I can't believe it," Trish said, examining her profile much like Miranda had done. "You really do have a gift."
Miranda shrugged and exited the changing stall.
"Come on Trish, let's get out of here."
On the way out of the mall, Miranda got sidetracked and found herself in a men's clothing store, a lollipop in her mouth. Trish followed, chattering about her latest boyfriend, Peter. Miranda only half-listened as she examined a selection of ties.
"I think he hates me," Trish said suddenly.
"Who? Your boyfriend?"
Miranda spun around, eyebrows raised. She laughed with gusto.
"He doesn't hate you, Trish," Miranda reassured her. "He acts like that to everybody. Even me, a lot of the time. It's one of those things. He's, well, bitter, really."
"And yet you still shag him," Trish said reflectively, smirking.
"Trish!" exclaimed Miranda, gagging on her lollipop, blushing profusely, and giving her friend a sharp poke in the abdomen. "Sod off; I can shag whoever the bloody hell I want to."
Trish bent double, laughing as Miranda, scowling, went back to her tie selection.
"Which one do you think?" Miranda asked, taking a step back so that Trish could better see the selection of ties.
Trish pointed without hesitation to the plain, black one.
"How about that one?" Trish said, catching her breath and wiping away a tear of mirth.
"No, I think I like this one," Miranda said, picking out a pink tie with different colored spots.
"You really like torturing him, don't you?" Trish said, laughing again.
"Oh, trust me, it never gets old," said Miranda, smirking.
Miranda arrived at home near eight o' clock, carrying her bags and feeling refreshed. Severus was sitting in a chair, a cauldron at his feet. Miranda dropped her bags and ambled over to him. He was intently focused on his project, his greasy black hair hanging about his face as he worked. Miranda yawned and dropped the floor, spreading her arms out and enjoying her relaxation. Severus spared her a quick glance before turning back to his cauldron.
"Where's Christine?" Miranda asked quietly, rubbing her eyes.
"Sleeping," Severus said shortly, now scanning a piece of parchment.
Suddenly an owl flew through the open window and dropped a letter, which landed straight into Severus' cauldron. Severus jumped up, cursed, and levitated the letter out. Miranda sat, up, interested as Severus tore open the letter and read it quickly. A shocked look came over his face and was quickly replaced by a look of incredulity.
"What? No, surely he doesn't mean –"
"What?" asked Miranda, jumping up and making to snatch the letter from Severus.
Severus handed her the letter and she read it over. After reading it, she felt as if someone had boxed in her ears. She read it over again, slowly this time, and felt a surge of excitement at what she read.
Dearest Severus and Miranda,
I am not sure if you know this, but Harry Potter was recently injured during a Death Eater attack. He is grievously injured by dark magic and will take a while to heal. During this fragile time, Harry needs to stay somewhere where he can be safe and away from harm. You both currently reside in the safest place at the given time, and I must ask of you to lend Harry housing for a brief period of time. Please send a reply by return owl as soon as possible.
Yours most sincerely,
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore
A/N: Dun dun dun…? The first chapter was developmental, and the real plot will begin soon, so alright.