As much as Archibald hadn’t appreciated being woken up by Professor Sinstra’s owl tapping incessantly on his newly-installed triple glazing (brilliant stuff that had really improved the instillation in his newly purchased house in Devon, but apparently didn’t block the noise of very determined owls completely), the content of the letter had been a huge relief.
Aurora had stated that she was ‘impressed’ with the results of Archibald’s students (the ‘considering what idiots the lot of them were’ was left unsaid, but obviously there), but that didn’t mean much compared to the actual results.
True, several of his blonde mob had failed, but not as many as Archie had been expecting. There had been no Ts (and from what Sinistra said, it seemed some of his students had achieved straight Ts in the rest of their OWLs) and only a couple of Ds; quite a few Ps, he had to admit, but more As than he was expecting. Nina had, of course, achieved an O, but she wasn’t the only one… There were lots of Es too, which made sense – they’d definitely exceeded his admittedly low expectations.
So that was good.
Best of all, was the fact the nightly individual coaching with Vicky had managed to scrap her only NEWT pass which, for someone like Vicky, would probably be the highest level she’d ever achieve. The acceptable scrawled next to her name genuinely made him happy enough that he was tempted to pull out his home karaoke set and start singing some cheery 90s hit (he no longer had any neighbours who could complain about his awful singing, and it made the whole karaoke experience a lot more liberating). Both Ronald McDonald and Simon ‘Squeaky’ Fawcett had ended up with Es, which he knew they’d be happy with (or as happy as he’d ever seen Ronald McDonald, which wasn’t very if he was brutally honest).
Elliot Cooper had gotten his O, which was a little irritating, but you couldn’t have everything.
So, he’d decided to celebrate by hitting some of the tackier muggle tourist shops in Muggle London.
Since the admittedly unexpected purchase of his own house, Archibald had decided that he didn’t have nearly enough muggle junk to fill up the newfound space; beyond the walls taken up by his teletubby paraphernalia and his collection of tin cans, he’d found that you could see an alarming amount of his wallpaper (which, in retrospect, he shouldn’t have attempted to apply himself, in the muggle way, without his wand, because it look awful). Now, two hours after finding this particular muggle street, Archibald was slightly exhausted – he’d had to drag himself away from a variety of merchandise embellished with rather poor quality photos of the royal family, which he thought might look nice strung up around the bathroom before he remembered that Dionne had objected to the beanie baby collection in the bathroom because it was ‘creepy’ and he doubted that a life sized image of the royal wedding printed on a towel would be deemed any less creepy.
What with his newfound popularity (which Archibald found himself somewhat amused by at least three times a day, glancing over at his ‘Professor of the year’ trophy and remaining unsure whether or not he should be alarmed or pleased about the whole thing), he was trying to avoid another microwave incident.
There was only so many explosions his pay packet could allow for, anyway.
“Grande Cappuccino,” Archibald told the bloke in the muggle coffee shop, pulling out a wad of muggle cash and wondering whether or not it was acceptable to pay with a fifty pound note, and deciding not after the alarmed look on the cashier register’s face.
“It’s not bloody Starbucks,” The cashier said, “we have regular or large.”
“Large,” Archibald said, pulling out his mobile phone feeling particularly muggle. He frowned at the lack of messages and decided he’d probably just left the thing to close to his wand and had accidentally disrupted his own signal. Either that, or the only person he had on his contact list (Dionne, which – he suspected – had been out of a weary amusement rather than any real desire to experience the romance of connecting in the muggle way), hadn’t felt like texting him.
Archibald paid, making a note to pay in the correct change to prove that he wasn’t one of those wizard-idiots who didn’t know how to use a legitimate tender in their own country (and accidentally overpaying the guy thirty seven pence by accident) before wandering over to one of the free tables and sitting down heavily.
Really, life was good. The Charming Charms teacher was a lot more understanding about the ‘muggle-fetish’ (as it was stated in ‘Hogwarts: a commentary’ which Archibald felt was a little unfair) than any of his previous girlfriends. When Archibald had explained that he’d made both of them as separate families on the sims and then had set his simulation-self on a blind date (because he felt it would be an unrealistic portrayal of their lives if they were the first person the other dated), he’d paid top (simolen) dollar and wound up on a blind date with the sim version of her, which basically meant they were like simulation soul-mates… instead of backing away slowly, she’d just laughed at him and requested they purchase a simulation-cat together. Now, that was the basis for a healthy relationship; the sort of relationship which didn’t end in blown-up microwaves and derogative comments about the other’s mother.
He had a nice house. He’d managed to prise most of his belongings out of his still-rather-annoyed-ex’s grasp and, best of all, the Professor of the year award had pacified his mother slightly. Apparently, a little recognition from his student was enough to convince Mrs Penrose that Archibald’s whole life hadn’t been one humungous mistake. And to top it all off, he still had weeks until he had to face any of his grimy-faced, snot-nosed, acne-infested students.
“Professor,” a voice said, and Archibald’s head jerked up from his coffee in alarm. Running into your students in public was a professional hazard that came along with being a Professor, and usually Archibald tried to twist the situation to his favour by aiming to embarrass the student as much as possible; asking if his students were out on dates when he saw them together, introducing himself to their parents, and generally being slightly cringe worthy and a little bit awkward. However, this was different. Archibald was out in Muggle London supporting one of those summery Hawaiian T-shirts, a pair of pin stripped suit-trousers, his favourite novelty socks (because sponge bog square pants was severely underrated) and a pair of rather suave gladiator sandals, he’d spent the day browsing for further additions to his muggle-tourist-thimble-collection and he was categorically nowhere near the leaky cauldron.
“Pips?” Archibald asked, staring up at the just-about-teenage with his eyebrows hitting his hairline. It was another moment before he registered that Kevin Pip was delivering his coffee, and another still to note that Kevin Pips was wearing the same uniform as the cashier.
“Nice shirt,” Kevin said, eyes raking over the Hawaiian T-shirt with a barely disguised smirk.
He knew the shirt was slightly gaudier than the average thing in his wardrobe, but that was what Muggle men wore during the summer. He was being authentic like the muggle nut he was.
“Do you work here?” Archibald asked, trying not to sound as confused as he currently was, whilst self-consciously hiding the bag of thimbles. Peer-assessment week was a very long way away, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t already nervous.
Kevin looked down is apron with an obvious ‘duh’ expression.
“Aren’t there laws about that sort of thing?” Archibald asked, still exceedingly baffled, “Working minors?”
“You gonna report me?” Kevin asked, head tilting. Good God, in all his years of teaching he’d never met someone who was such a concentrated ball of sass. Kevin Pips had a serious attitude problem and the likes of him certainly wasn’t going to be able to dent it.
“This is a Muggle coffee shop, Pip,”
“Yeah?” Kevin said, which Archibald roughly translated to ‘and what are you gonna do about it?’ “S’my Dad’s shop,” Kevin said eventually, “I’m helping out because one of the waitresses is sick.”
“Your Dad… owns a muggle coffee shop?”
Kevin grinned, kicking out the chair across from Archibald and taking a seat.
“I’m muggle born.”
Archibald stared at him. He was suddenly reminded of the moment when Kevin had nearly announced something in the middle of his Professor-of-the-year award-party and the there was a rush of moments when Kevin had always inexplicably known the answer to any question posed to him… he’d chalked it up to the boy having an ounce of common sense but… no, muggle born would do it.
God damn. The whole school had been laughing at him all year and, like Cooper, Kevin would have picked up every single mistake he’d made about Muggle culture (of which there would always be some, because he was an ignorant pureblood wizard after all…) and had simply been hiding his knowledge behind his obese attitude.
“Fred Weasley got to you,” Archibald said, eyes narrowing at his coffee, “how much did he pay you?”
“Ten galleons,” Kevin grinned, “but it doubles for every year you’re in the dark.”
Archibald closed his eyes for a second.
“What’s my cut?”
“Your cut?” Kevin asked, frowning at him.
“You seem not to have inherited the business gene,” Archibald drawled, glancing at the counter, “I’ll pretend I think you’re of wizarding origin, your class continues to laugh at me behind my back, you get the money and then you split it,”
“Deal,” Kevin Pips said, grinning.
“Looking forward to the new school year?” Archibald asked, taking a sip of his coffee and glancing up at his new co-conspirator (he would best Fred Weasley yet) with a smile.
“Probably not as much as you,” Kevin said, kicking back the chair, quirking up his eyebrow and disappearing into the back of the shop.
Yesterday, Dionne had received her new register and had informed him – through her laugher – that she had a ‘Harry Porter’ and a ‘Larry Potter’ in her first year class this year. They’d spent twenty minutes debating whether or not their parents were cruel or just muggle (Archibald suggested just muggles, but it was pretty hilarious whatever way you looked at it) and then they’d started discussing their plan for peer-assessment week and the top thirty ways to mess with Terry Boot and Michael Corner.
Well, the prospect of the next year could certainly be much worse.
Kevin had reappeared out of the back of the shop, this time with what looked to be one of those fancy gadgets that combined the function of a phone and a music player and a camera all at once…. But his thought was cut off as Kevin held the thing up and snapped a photo of Archibald in his Hawaiian T-shirt, SpongeBob square pants socks, sandals, pin stripped suit trousers, half trying to hide his bag of thimbles and half trying to act like he wasn’t trying to hide his bag of thimbles…
“Please, Pips, don’t put that all over myplace,”
“Myplace?” Kevin questioned.
“My something,” Archibald said, “the social networking website? Myplace Myface? Don’t spread it all over Myface.”
“You’ve got stuff all over your face all on your own, Professor,” Kevin grinned, rolling his eyes before he disappeared again.
Archibald reached up tentatively towards his upper lip and realised yes he’d managed to walk away from the whole situation with a cappuccino moustache. And social networking aside, that photograph was almost definitely going to wind up in ‘Hogwarts: a commentary.’
Archibald Penrose dropped his head into his hands and swore.
It was going to be a long year.
As per, there are references to things that I don’t own or have any rights to.
The Teletubbies are property of Ragdoll Productions.
Beanie babies are owned by TY
SpongeBob square pants belongs to Stephen Hillenburg.
Sims is owned by EA games
I can’t believe the lovely response I’ve had this story, because it has essentially been pure crack.
(I also can't believe I managed to write like a whole twelve chapter 12+ humour story...)
I’ve had a really great time making up stupid names and writing about stupid scenarios and I sincerely hope I’ve entertained you at least a little bit! I was originally going to say farewell from all the characters within this story, but I wrote a list and it was a looooot longer than I was expecting it to be. I’m sorry again for not having a plan at first and therefore uploading it all in the wrong order (I realise that must have been so annoying!) and thank you once again for reading. Oh, thanks for the Dobby Noms, the Golden Snitch win and the two diadems! You’re all awesome :D
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