Chapter 2: By Leaps and Bounds
See Chapter 1 for details and disclaimers. If and when changes occur, notifications will be posted here, at the beginning of the newly affected chapter.~ II. By Leaps and Bounds ~
True to their word, the British witch and wizards stayed long enough to help Naunine access the Potter vaults and make sure she and the children were properly relocated. She also took the time to officially change her and Tara's last name back to their bloodline -- mainly to keep Randall from tracking them down (however unlikely), but also to make things easier for themselves. Harry Potter might well be the most famous name in the magical world, making it difficult for him to have any sort of privacy in years to come, but it would be simpler by far to enroll him in public schools with fewer questions if they all shared the same last name.
It was also decided, thanks to Naunine and Minerva's insistance, that someone from the magical world would stop by to check on them at least twice a year. That Severus volunteered for the first visit over the Spring holiday came as little surprise -- he wished to determine how the American witch had removed Harry's curse scar, and what other native remedies she had learned. Normally stoic and cranky, the Potions Master's dour mood lightened dramatically when faced with the McClay females. He even managed a small smile for the Potter boy. When no one was watching, of couse.
Leaving a round-trip portkey for emergencies, Albus said his goodbyes and returned to the running of his school, dragging Severus away before he could finish interrogating the young woman. Minerva stayed behind long enough to help watch the children while she and Naunine shopped to equip their new home with the essentials, helping her come up with a plausible cover story should any nosy neighbor or school authority ask. And while the older woman would have preferred to use the 'husband died' tale, she eventually agreed that Naunine and the children would be safer with an edited version of the truth : she had left an abusive husband before he could cause more damage to herself or her young children. Not a tear was shed as she filed for divorce on the grounds of personal endangerment.
Naunine felt somewhat guilty leaving her two oldest children with Randall, but was honest enough with herself to admit that they were beyond rehabilitation. Already in their teens, her sons were bigotted bullies who refused to accept any 'truth' but what their father spouted. With a resigned sigh, she left them each a note of goodbye, wishing them well and admonishing them to grow beyond their father's petty prejudices. She prayed they would listen, all the while knowing her plea would be unanswered.
Their new home was a little cottage in California, north of San Francisco and far enough off the coast not to be in the direct line of tourists and travelers visiting the beaches. The climate was good, holding sufficient variation to actually have all four seasons, with frequent rain and even snow a few days a year. A period of adjustment was expected, naturally, changing from the heavily wooded environment of their previous home to the temperance of their new place.
Tara found the flora and fauna to her liking almost at once, making 'friends' with the wildlife and adopting any injured or halfway tame creature to cross her path. She kept little Harry entertained with the more domesticated ones, and quickly learned that he had an affinity toward snakes. The first time she heard him hiss at a small garden snake, and heard it reply, she ran into the house to tell Naunine. Only after hearing the boy 'converse' with the reptile did their mother believe; rare and unusual they might all be with their magical abilities, but talking with animals was a bit of a stretch even for a natural witch to believe.
Harry seemed to be settling down as well as could be expected. He still cried for his Mummy, of course -- Naunine would've been more concerned if he hadn't. But with freely given hugs and reassuring kisses, he soon returned to the happy child his parents had brought into the world.
And if Naunine's eyes filled with bittersweet tears the first time he called her Mumma, she could be forgiven.
The small community in which they lived had a decent enough school system. Tara joined the half-day class of twelve for kindergarten, daily bringing home some craft or drawing to amuse her 'brother'. She blossomed under the gentle care of her teacher, her mother, the unconditional adoration of Harry, and being away from her older siblings and father. She no longer stuttered, became more confident, and her magical abilities flourished.
Naunine found herself reverting back to the more carefree, gregarious young woman she had been before accepting Randall's proposal of marriage. She still wished for things to have been different, for a second chance with her older sons, but was content with the new life she was building with Tara and Harry.
By the end of March, the young family was well settled in their new life. Spring Break came around and with it the promised visit from Severus Snape. He arrived by portkey, not planning on leaving the Potter's property, only to be 'pouted' into joining Tara on one of her nature romps. Even time spent with his childhood rival's son was less taxing than he'd expected. Harry was a sweet, even-tempered child with all the loving qualities of his mother and none of his father's elitest traits.
On the third day of his visit, the wards surrounding the cottage alerted the residents of another magical person nearby. Within minutes, Harry and Tara were shuffled into the playroom with assorted amusements to keep them quietly entertained, leaving the adults to answer the door.
Severus looked out the window as the bell rang and breathed a sigh of relief. "It's Poppy, the school's mediwitch. I assume the Headmaster sent her to perform the check-ups you requested for the children."
Naunine's heart slowly returned to its normal pattern. "Well then, let's welcome her inside."Author's Post-it Note:
I've always been fascinated by the "what if Harry was raised by-" storyline. This idea came to me after a rousing debate on which BtVS female was the best and why. I lost, being outnumbered by my kids, but Tara and Cordelia will always be my favorites. Couldn't see how Harry being raised by the Chases was a good thing *laugh*, so Tara's mom gets away from the brutal bastard. More to come when I get the chance!