Disclaimer: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and all of its characters belong to J.K. Rowling. I am not making any money from this story, merely playing in her playground.
Sorry the update has been so long in coming. I have a new job that takes up a lot of my time. There will be a new chapter of A Normal Life out soon too for those fans who read it.
Also – A big shout out of THANKS to my beta, Hippothestrowl for all of his hard work giving me feedback on this story.
The Muggles' Son
Chapter 5: Shopping and Waiting
Breakfast that morning was chaos. Patrick, still half-asleep, burnt the bacon, Colin wouldn't stop crying, and Harry kept pulling off his diaper and streaking nude through the house, giggling as Diana chased him. Finally, an hour and a half, three shirts and two diapers later, everyone was ready to leave.
"I think the first thing he's going to need is a warm coat," Diana said, shivering as she stepped out of the warm car into the parking lot of the shopping center.
Patrick nodded as he scooped up the black-haired toddler and strode toward "Marie's Rompers" a little boutique that specialized in children's clothing.
They had barely walked in the door when a plump grandmotherly lady came hurrying up to them. "Oh, what lovely children, how can I help you kids today?"
"Little Harry here needs a complete wardrobe, including a winter coat," Patrick stated, going on to explain the situation of his adoption.
"Oh, the poor dear. . . Well, we'll fix him right up then, shall we?" She smiled at Harry and Colin and then turned and led them toward the back corner of the shop.
Two hours later, they left the shop, burdened down with several bags and two new teddy-bears, one for each boy. Patrick deposited the bags in the boot of the car, and then set Harry who was now wearing a new blue coat and matching snow boots on the ground beside him and took his hand. Together the four of them headed to the little café on the corner. It was painted a cheerful yellow and had a blue neon sign above the door that read "Anchor Fish House."
The café was warm and cozy; its décor designed to emulate a ship at sea. The waitress was a cheerful skinny blonde of about eighteen. "Pat, Diana, lovely to see you again! Let me grab a highchair and some crayons, and we'll get you seated, shall we?" She glanced curiously down at Harry before she disappeared around the corner for a moment only to emerge moments later with a high chair. They followed her over to the corner booth, and Patrick deposited Harry into it and buckled him in as the waitress went back for their menus.
Patrick and Diana were discussing what to order when Harry's shrill giggle pierced their eardrums. Turning to look at him, they saw him giggling as he watched a little blonde girl of about eight in the next booth over. She was looking over at Harry and making faces at him, her nose currently wrinkled up in a pig's snout.
"Nymphadora! What have I told you about doing that in public?" The black-haired lady sitting beside her snapped. The girl whirled around to face forward, her hair seeming to fade from blonde to a muddy brown, Mumbling something that seemed to mollify the woman.
The man beside her chuckled, "Don't stress so much, Andi, she's just being a kid."
Patrick's head swiveled on his shoulders and he stared over at the other table for a moment before a big grin spread across his face. "Ted! I didn't know you and your family were going to be here. How's the weather?" he asked, referring to his old friend's job as a television news weather man.
The blond, heavy-set man let out a deep laugh. "The weather's fine my friend. I see you have a new addition to your family," he said, gesturing to Harry who was happily eating the yellow crayon.
Patrick smiled. "Yes, this is Harry, we are adopting him," he glanced down at Harry, and then reached over and plucked the crayon out of his hand. "No Harry, that's yuck." He removed the rest of the crayons from Harry's reach.
Harry pouted and babbled at him, pointing his finger at the crayons. Patrick shook his head and turned back to the other table. "How are you today, Andromeda?" He greeted Ted's black-haired wife.
"I'm good. Diana, how have you and the baby been?" Andromeda asked politely.
"We are good, thank you. He has begun to gain a bit more weight now. Doctor Brown is happy with his progress," Diana replied.
"Who is he, Auntie Di?" Nymphadora pointed at Harry who was munching on a blue crayon.
Diana reached over and took the crayon away from him with one hand and placed it on the table with the others. She then grabbed a napkin off the table and dabbed at the blue crayon juice running down his mouth. "This is Harry. We are adopting him because his parents are dead and his aunt doesn't want him."
"That's very kind of you. What happened to his parents?" Ted asked curiously.
"A home invasion gone badly, we were told. Found him near freezing on his aunt's doorstep in the wee hours of November the 2nd. I took him home and Diana and I cared for him until the social worker got there. By then we'd decided that if his aunt and uncle didn't want him, we'd care for him, and the rest, as they say, is history," Patrick explained, glancing oddly at Nymphadora who was again changing her hair. Harry giggled around the green crayon which was being masticated by his little jaw.
"Well, Pat, it's been nice seeing you again, but I'm afraid we promised we'd take Dora to the zoo for her birthday, so we'd better get a move on. I'll ring you up in the next day or two and we can go play some darts or billiards if you like," Ted said, ushering his small family toward the exit as his wife quietly but furiously scolded their daughter.
Colin began to fuss and root, so Diana pulled a blanket out of the diaper bag, draped it over herself and Colin and began to discreetly unbutton her blouse. Soon, the sounds of feeding were coming from beneath the blanket as a different waitress came up to the table to take their order. Lily of the Valley hovered in the air around her, a cloying miasma of scent. Harry stopped chewing on the green color crayon, and looked up at the waitress. "Mama?" he asked, a hopeful tone to the high-pitched words.
The waitress looked startled and took a step backward, her long black hair swinging beside her cheeks. She stared down at him with an ill-concealed look of disgust, before pasting on a smile and turning her attention to Patrick, clearly ignoring both Harry and Diana. "May I get some beverages started for you?"
"Mama?" Harry queried, anxiety lacing the word.
"Lady, I think your other son wants some of your attention too," the waitress' voice was barely on the civilized side of a sneer.
Diana looked the woman up and down as though appraising something rather distasteful. "Harry is our adopted son. His parents were the unfortunate victims of a tragedy quite recently. I think something about you reminds him of his mother. I would like a Cola, Pat wants a large chocolate milk, and I think we will have a small chocolate milk for Harry. And," she said, stressing the last word, "if it's all the same to you, please send Julie back with the drinks." She tipped her head toward the young woman who had shown them to their seats. She was cleaning the table off to the left, but it was obvious she'd heard every word.
The dark-haired waitress with the beaky nose sneered openly at Diana and stated in an icy voice, "As you wish, madam." With a slight spin to her step that had Diana imagining she was flaring a cape, the woman turned and stalked off toward the kitchen.
"Maaaa Maaaa!" Harry wailed, throwing the green crayon at the window in his distress. It left a tiny green mark on the window before sliding harmlessly to the floor. As his distress built, the table began to shake. Patrick had just started to rise when Julie came over and knelt beside the high chair.
The little boy ignored her, and continued screaming.
"Harry!" This time the words were slightly louder and just a bit sharper. Harry startled out of his crying long enough to look at her.
"Harry, do you like cookies?" Julie asked, lowering her voice back down.
Eyes red and nose running, he nodded.
"If you want a cookie, you have to stop screaming and be a good boy. If you can be a good boy, then when it is time to go, if it is okay with your parents, you can have a cookie."
Harry looked questioningly in the direction of Diana who smiled and nodded. "Yes, Harry, if you sit quietly I will allow Julie to give you a cookie, but you have to eat all of your dinner."
Harry, satisfied with the nod, and not really understanding anything beyond the basics, resumed his crayon dining.
Patrick sent a grateful smile at the young waitress. "How are your studies coming?"
"Just lovely. I took a break from Uni for a semester to help Mum. She's taken it kind of hard since Dad passed on. I'll start back in the fall for my last year. I got that scholarship for Uni in the Colonies, by the way." Julie explained. Absently wiping Harry's crayon drool hands with the bar towel as she spoke.
"The Yale one or the Harvard one?" Diana asked, discretely shifting Colin to the other side.
"Neither actually. I got accepted into the Astrophysics program at Cornell University in New York." Julie was nearly vibrating with excitement.
The door to the kitchen opened, and a short older woman with blonde hair coiled tightly in a bun secured beneath a hairnet exited. She hurried over to the table with an apologetic smile on her face. She bussed Patrick and Diana on both cheeks and pressed a kiss to the top of Colin's head through the concealing blanket and then turned to Harry. "And who is this handsome young man?" She raised an eyebrow at Patrick.
"This is Harry, our adopted son, Aunt Cecilia," Patrick replied, reaching over to tug the red crayon out of Harry's mouth. Harry frowned a moment and then grabbed the blue one to replace the red one.
Patrick reached over and removed the blue crayon with a firm, but gentle "No."
"Jules, honey, why don't you grab a couple packages of crackers for the boy 'til the food's done," Cecila instructed, using the corner of her big white apron to wipe red crayon juice from Harry's lips and chin.
Julie hurried off and Cecilia turned back to Diana and Patrick. "So sorry about Eileen's behavior, she's not good with children. I never should have allowed her to wait tables, but I felt so sorry for her. She's had a hard life."
"Why do you keep her on?" Diana asked, placing a now content baby on her shoulder and patting his bottom to expel the burps.
"I guess I've just got a soft spot for those in trouble," Cecilia smiled lovingly at Patrick as she spoke.
"You did a wonderful job with Patrick, I'm sure with time Eileen will be no different," Diana praised the woman who'd raised her husband up from a troubled youth to the wonderful man whom Diana had fallen in love with.
"I hope so. Trouble is, she's got forty years of bad behavior to unlearn. Patty only had twelve," she turned her attention back to Harry. "Well little man, I'd love to hear more of your story, but that'll have to wait or the fish will be burnt."
She shuffled off back to the kitchen, motioning for Eileen to follow her. The hawk nosed woman fell in behind her, stepping out of synch only long enough for Julie to pass carrying a large tureen of steaming white chowder. Julie deposited the chowder in the center of a table where two young college students sat pretending they were only there for a study date, even as they made eyes at each other whenever the other wasn't looking.
As she approached their table, Julie pulled out several packages of crackers and deposited them on the table beside Diana.
Diana passed Colin to Patrick as she opened a package of crackers for Harry. Handing him one, she turned her attention back to Julie. "Your Mum seems to be doing somewhat better. This is the first time I've seen her come out among the customers in months."
"She has her good days and her bad ones, this one appears to be a good one. I still can't believe he's gone. Every time I go into the kitchen I expect to hear him yelling orders out left and right," Julie's voice choked off as sadness clogged her throat.
"It's still so hard to imagine him gone. I can't believe he didn't tell her about his heart condition," Patrick mourned, his face dark with loss.
Diana gasped, pressing a hand to her mouth. "Oh, dear, I can't believe I forgot! Julie dear, could you get us a big bowl of that chowder, that's all we'll have time for today," she turned to Patrick, worry oozing from her. "Gwen goes in for her surgery today. I promised Amanda we'd be there for her."
"Tell your Mum we'll have to have those fish and chips another time, my best friend's daughter goes in for heart surgery today. Her daughter's only a few days older than Colin, but she was born with a huge hole in her heart. The odds of her surviving the surgery are on the low side of fifty percent, but the odds of her making it to her first birthday without the surgery are even lower," Diana explained. Patrick grasped her hand in sympathy, his own sorrow forgotten.
"Right, then, I'll go get that chowder. Don't worry, Mum will understand. We'll all be praying for the little one here too," Julie assured her, embracing her warmly before rushing back to the kitchen for another tureen of her mother's famous Fish chowder.
The hospital waiting room was nearly empty when they arrived. The only other person in the room was Finster, who was pacing back and forth, a nervous look on his face. Pat sat down in an empty seat, holding a sleeping Colin while Diana had stopped in the doorway to wipe cracker drool from Harry's chin, the bag with the chowder and disposable bowls swinging from her wrist.
Taking Harry by the hand, she walked over and settled him in the seat next to Pat. She looked around a moment, her eyes settling on Finster. "Hello, Fin, where's Amanda?"
"I sent her to get us coffees. There is a coffee shop down stairs. She's been such a wreck since they took Gwen back. They said she's only got a twenty-percent chance of survival. Now I know why my cousin gave her up, she couldn't handle the idea of a defective child," Finster commented.
"Well, her loss is your gain. I'm sure she will pull through. God would not have arranged for her to come into your life just to take her away again. But all the same we'll pray with you. First though, I'm going to go help Amanda," Diana rose and moved toward the door just as Amanda entered, carrying two steaming paper cups of coffee.
Pressing both cups of coffee into her husband's hands, Amanda flung herself into Diana's arms, weeping wildly. "Oh, Di, I'm so glad you made it! The doctor did some tests before they took her back today, he said he was surprised she's lived this long. She's so tiny." She clutched Diana like a lifeline, tears pouring from her eyes.
Diana alternated patting and rubbing her friend's back until her sobs calmed and her grip loosened. She settled her friend into the chair she had been sitting in beside Harry. "Sit and eat something. Cecilia made a whole pot of her Fish chowder for us. She sent some bowls along too." Diana opened the large canvas bag she had set on the floor beside the chair and lifted a ceramic pot from within. The smell of the Fish chowder seeped out from beneath the lid. She placed the pot on the little table beside the chairs that held a lamp and then reached into the bag again for the ladle and a stack of bowls. Dishing up the Fish chowder, she placed her bowl off to one side and picked up a spoon and knelt on the floor in front of Harry.
Sniffing deeply, Pat peered into the bag again and pulled out a covered basket of rolls. "She always knows just what I like," he whispered, passing the basket of rolls around. They ate in silence after that, Colin lying on a blanket on the floor beside Pat who sat cross legged, a bowl of chowder on the floor before him. Harry ate greedily of the chowder Diana fed him, bouncing up and down on his seat and demanding more when the first bowl was finished. Diana handed him a roll to eat while she finished her bowl. By the time she was done, he had devoured the roll and was reaching toward her bowl.
"Ha-eee hungee," he begged as the bowl rose from her hands and began to float towards him. Diana grabbed it and scooped up another ladle full and resumed feeding him again.
"Ha-eee do!" He demanded, reaching toward the bowl.
"Not this time, sweetie, there's no tray. Let Mama Di do it for you," she coaxed, her attention focused on him. The little boy settled down and dutifully allowed her to feed him.
"He's so well behaved; it's a wonder to watch. I remember how much of a little terror my younger brothers were growing up," Amanda complimented Harry between bites of food.
"It shows that whoever his parents were, they were bringing him up well," Patrick replied. Finster nodded in agreement and the rest of the meal passed in silence. When they were finished, Patrick offered to stay with the children while the others went to the chapel to pray. Harry played for a few minutes with his stuffed bear and then cuddled up beside Colin on the blanket and went to sleep, one arm clutching the bear and the other draped protectively over his little brother.
A/N: Well folks, that's a wrap. Sorry it's been so long. I hope it was worth the wait.