Chapter 1 : Hell is upon us
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*22 Years Later*
One would think that after fifteen years of motherhood, I would be able to foresee and avoid any stress that comes with getting children ready to go out in public.
But I do not foresee and avoid. I still fly about getting shoes and coats and step on legos and trip over forts(causing them to cry and call me a murderer since their imaginary friends live in there) for about an hour and a half before we're ready to leave - I have not, to this day, gotten out of the house without some form of havoc . Fifteen years.
"Will," I call out while massaging my foot from when I stepped on his legoman-thingy, "you need to use the loo before we leave?"
"No," he calls back, offended that I even asked.
"You sure?" I get back on my feet, walking toward the sound of his voice and kicking away a teddy bear that would most definitely have caused me to break a bone. "You know what always happens when-"
"I said no!" he basically roars. I roll my eyes and grit my teeth.
"Fine." I locate the menace that I call my child on the floor tearing the heads of his sister's barbies off. I don't have the time nor the energy to tell him to stop. "Then get your shoes on."
"I don't know where they are," he answers, throwing another head onto the pile forming beside him.
"Well, then look for them."
Will lifts his head lazily and looks from side to side. "Can't find them."
I sigh. "Where did you see them last, then?"
"On my feet."
And then I've got the wonderful task of finding my son's shoes. And I do find them - they're hidden under a pile of umbrellas that - from the looks of it - used to be a tipi.
"Here." I hand my sour-looking six-year-old his shoes and turn around to find the other one standing right behind me, her eyes scanning the room. "Get a move on, Min, or we'll be late."
"I'm looking for something," she says dreamily.
"I don't know."
"Well, how can you be looking for something when you don't even know what the something is?" I want to scream this, but I don't. Mother of the year here.
"I'll know when I see it," she tells me, her big, brown eyes trying to find this 'something'.
"You are one strange child, Minerva." I take a deep breath and make a mental list of what's left to do. I should have been out of the house twenty minutes ago, but no matter how hard I try, nothing ever seems to go according to plan. At least not after I became a parent. And having six-year old twins does not help in the least.
When I've wrestled Will away from the beheading, torn Minnie away from her search, ushered them both out to the hallway and forced them to put on their coats and shoes, I'm sweating like a roasting pig. The shower I had this morning was a total waste of hot water.
"Will, close your jacket," I tell him after we're all outside and walking to the car. "It's windy."
The child does not respond.
"Will. Jacket. Now."
"I'm not cold," he says stubbornly. Minnie makes a point of closing hers, trying to make me think she's the better of the two. Nice try, Min.
"I don't care," I say, holding open the door to the car so the rough wind doesn't squish my kid. What a travesty that would be. "You close your jacket this instant."
Again; no reply.
"You're going to get a cough if you don't clo-"
"Too bad," he mutters, climbing into his seat and scowling.
"Yeah," I agree and put on his and Min's seatbelts as quick as only a mother can. "Too bad you won't get any dessert after dinner tonight."
I feel like doing a victory dance when my son admits defeat and zips up his coat. He's still scowling, but at least now he won't be home sick with pneumonia when pre-school starts up again. I need my time alone. The house looks like Hiroshima now that they're off for the summer.
Just another few weeks, I tell myself as I start the ignition. I refuse to think about the fact that the other three will be there when the little ones are off at the haven others call pre-school. Or that for the next three weeks all five of them will be parading around and throwing their shit everywhere.
I hate the summer.
"Mummy?" I hear Will call from far away. I sigh and leave the fantasy island where Harry and I were just about to walk into a white-furnished room and not collapse with stress.
"I need to go to the bathroom."
"I told you to go before we left," I whine. I don't care if I sound like a teenager - this always happens!
"I didn't have to go then," he says in an annoyed tone.
"Too bad," I harshly tell him. "You'll have to wait."
"Fine," he spits and I see through the rear-view mirror that he crosses his arms and starts kicking the seat in front of him. It's not my seat so I don't care.
I growl. Never a moment of peace. Haven't they ever heard of the cardinal rule: "do not disturb the driver"?!
Rhetorical question, by the way.
"What is it, Min?"
"Will is making his poop-face."
Ten minutes later and I'm standing outside the men's room at Kings Cross and tapping my foot. Minnie is spinning around, terribly fascinated with how her skirt blows up like a balloon around her tights-covered knees.
"Min, you'll make yourself sick if you keep doing that." She doesn't stop, and I decide I won't waste energy on picking a fight. After fifteen years, you learn to pick your battles.
A battle I never back out from, though, is the one where I force the twins to strap on this leash-looking thing that actually makes it possible for me to take them both out of the house without losing one. They're pretty used to it by now(thank Merlin!) and don't protest too much when I strap it on them when Will comes strolling out of the bathroom with toilet paper stuck to his shoe.
"Can we get a cookie?" Min asks and comes to a halt in front of a muggle bakery shop located in the station. I give the "leash" a tug and tell her no. She retaliates by sprinting onward, inspiring her brother to do the same, and pulling me after.
Damn Mum and her wretched arthritis! She always used to take them on pick-up day.
"No, no," I tell them helplessly as their little legs spin. "Slow down!" They do the opposite - of course. "And now we're going faster. This is great."
In the excitement of their 'let's make our mother pass out again'-game(it has happened on occasion), they forget everything I ever taught them about polite behaviour and crash into an elderly lady waiting for her train.
"Excuse me!" the lady exclaims and her strict voice makes the Road Runners come to a halt.
"Sorry!" I tell her and then turn sternly to the twins. "Minnie, Will - apologize to this nice la-"
"Are you having your children on a leash?!" the lady questions with disgust evident in her tone.
"Well, it's not a leash, actually, it's-"
"You are a horrible mother!" the old hag says and then gives me the nastiest look before marching off, apparently not deigning herself to be in my presence any longer, even though her train was just arriving.
My chin falls. "What the hell!"
"Mum said a bad word!" Minnie points out, wide eyed. Her finger is directed at me in an accusing manner. "You have to give me and Will cookie."
"Yeah, as if I'm feeding you sugar now," I say with a snorting laugh.
".... We can get worse," Will threatens. His brown eyes are deadly serious, warning me to not underestimate their power to make my life hell. "This is nothing."
Minnie nods in agreement, equally serious. They're both staring me down, and I squint my eyes.
"Did I just get blackmailed by my six-year olds?" I ask myself under my breath.
"We just want the candy," Min tells me flatly.
"I can't believe this..." I mutter and then release a big sigh. "Fine." They start jumping and squealing. "But can we please walk to the platform then? I'm out of breath."
Minnie looks at her brother, and apparently they come to a silent understanding because they're nodding to each other before they turn to me.
My children actually keep their promise, and I guide them safely past the muggle trains and through the magical barrier to get to platform 9 3/4. They've only been here once, and that was when they were babies, so they're gasping at the sight before them. The impressive black and red Hogwarts train is surrounded by steam, and a seemingly endless array of students are stepping onto the platform. They carry owl cages; cats are on their shoulders and one kid's toad has apparently hopped away from him.
"Wow!" Minnie and Will say in unison, staring wide eyed at everything going on around them. I get a firm grip on their tiny hands(I took off the "leash" after the encounter with the hag) and scan the crowd for the rest of my clan.
"Mum, I can't see them," Min says. She's been counting the days to when we were going here, and she is basically jumping up and down with glee.
"I can't either, but they'll be here soon," I assure her. Minnie scrunches her eyebrows, just like I do when I'm stressed. It's weird to see ones features on another human being - it's like a replica that's better than the original.
"I don't wanna wait anymore," Will complains, and I can see that all the commotion on the platform is making him uneasy. Poor Will. He's never liked crowded rooms, so I give him a reassuring squeeze.
"We'll be out of here in no time," I say, and put more energy into searching the crowd. But there is no way in hell that I'll find them from this height. I turn my head and find what I'm looking for: A bench. Nobody's sitting on it, so I walk over to it, the twins safely at my sides, and help them on top of it before stepping onto it myself. I can now get a clear view of the entire platform, and I immediately find what I'm looking for.
I can see her very red hair flopping as she moves through the crowd on top of her older brother's shoulders. She finds me at the exact same time as I find her, and I don't even need to shout. I hate shouting.
"Mum!" Lily calls out, and tugs on James' hair to get his attention. She says bnds down and something to him and he starts walking over to where we're still standing on top of the bench.
"Mum, I can see them! I can see them!" Minnie calls out and starts jumping up and down, even Will gets excited now, suddenly forgetting his claustrophobia.
And then they're right in front of us. I help the bounching twins off the bench and they immediately throw themselves at James, wrapping their arms around his knees(since that's the only place they can reach).
"Whoa! Don't knock me over now," James says and chuckles. He's gotten taller, I notice. He's really towering over me.
"James, put me down," Lily commands. She is one bossy little twelve-year old. James complies and helps her off of his shoulders and onto the ground. She is the first one of the two to give me a hug.
"Oh, how I missed you!" I say, and I suddenly realise that I actually have. Now, holding Lily in my arms, I can remember the good things about being a mother of five. Maybe this summer wouldn't be so bad after all.
I give James the best hug I could, seeing there were two chimpanzee-resembling individuals in each of his arms.
"Where's Al?" I ask, only now realising that one was missing.
"Saying goodbye to his geek friends," Al answers and detaches himself from the chimps.
"Just because they're smarter than you, does not mean that they're geeks," a voice says dryly behind James, and into view pops the only one of my kids I find tolerable.
"Al," I say and greet him with a wide smile. The twins run up to him as well and he gives them a double-hug.
"Hey!" he says with a chuckle, crouching down to Minnie and Will's eye level. "I didn't know you two were coming to pick us up!"
"Grannie Molly is sick, so Mum had to take us," Min explains, having understood why I was taking them on this journey.
"Oh, is that so?" Al says and looks up at me knowingly. He knows I hate having them with me in public.
Hey, don't judge me! They're a real menace, I tell you. Once, when they were three, they managed to set the Minister of magic's beard on fire. Don't ask me how.
Oh, and another time, Will threw up on a reporter.
On second thought, that was pretty funny.
I am really excited about this story -- I'm having a lot of fun writing it :D
Hope you enjoyed the first chapter :)
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