Parenthood: Ready or Not by snapespoet
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Parenthood: Ready or Not

Disclaimer: I do not own it. All rights belong to JK Rowling. The basic idea for this story belongs to Nu, as it is a response to her challenge on WIKTT.

Author\'s Notes: This chapter was betad by Kay, many thanks to her. This story is written through the 7th chapter and I hope to update every week. Enjoy.

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Chapter One

\"You very well know I cannot adopt a child!\" Severus Snape\'s cold voice echoed in the stillness of the Minister\'s office and his glare was more prominent than the Minister could remember seeing for a long time.

\"Now, now, Severus, I know how much of an inconvenience this is to you, but we really can make no exceptions.\"

Severus got up from his chair and walked to the window, his body stiff and tingling with anger.

\"I cannot do it, Arthur. You know me, raising children was never on my list of priorities,\" his voice came out as a whisper.

\"You have a list of the children and their profiles. You should be happy to even be getting a choice in the matter, everyone else will be assigned a child. I expect your choice to be on my desk tomorrow morning at 9 AM sharp. If it isn\'t, a child will be chosen for you,\" Arthur\'s voice turned businesslike.

Turning sharply, Severus glared at the Minister, then stalked out of the office.

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\"Albus, there must be something I can do. I cannot teach my students and continue my private research if I am to care for a child,\" Severus said wearily.

He looked up to see the aging Headmaster\'s eyes twinkling with mischief.

\"Albus, what is it you know that I don\'t?\"

\"Well, dear boy, we will be adding on to our staff this coming school year. A very nice young woman has agreed to return to apprentice with Minerva and, in addition to doing so, she will help with the running of a day care.\"

Severus mentally groaned. \"And who, may I ask, is this young woman you seem to so adore?\"

Albus tried to hide a chuckle, unsuccessfully. \"One Miss Granger. Surely you remember her?\"

Glaring heavily at the old man, Severus mumbled distastefully, \"How could I forget her?\"

\"Come now, Severus. She really has grown into a wonderful young woman and you should realize that she is not exempt from this law either. Because she has completed her University classes, she will be required to take a child in as well.

\"Now, it is my suggestion to you that you read through those profiles. I know there are quite a few remarkable little girls in that file.\"

Glaring profusely in Albus\' direction, Severus got up grumpily and swept to the door. \"Good day, Albus.\"

\"Good day, Severus\"

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Severus slowly traveled to his office in the dungeons, wanting to put his decision off as long as he could. He had never wanted children. He had never had a desire to marry and have a family, no matter how much his parents pressured him to continue the Snape line when he was younger.

Well, at least this way I won\'t have to worry about nappies. Severus rolled his eyes at his mental optimism. He reached his office sooner than he would have liked and opened the door. A very large file sat on his desk, holding the profiles of all the children he would have to consider taking in. Next to the file sat The Daily Prophet, opened to the first page article describing the new law.

Ignoring the matter at hand, Severus went to his fireplace and lit a fire in it. He took off his outer robe and hung it on the coat rack just inside his office. He dallied over to a wall next to the painting behind his chair and muttered an incantation. The wall faded into a cabinet and Severus opened it. He pulled a jar of amber liquid and a glass, then went to his desk. He poured himself a drink, put the jar back, and charmed the cabinet hidden again.

Sighing, he sat at his desk and picked The Daily Prophet up. Scanning the dreadful article again, he snorted.

\"Of course Albus finds all this amusing, he\'s exempt from the blasted law,\" he grumbled.

Feeling the beginnings of a headache, Severus drank the amber liquid quickly, then lifted the cover from the file. Picking up the first profile, he scanned it.

Name: Maria Kay Agustus
Age: Two years
Birthday: 19 June 1998
Parents: Jason and Sarah Agustus - Deceased
Blood: Half

Severus stopped reading her profile and glanced at the young toddler\'s picture, raising an eyebrow. The child obviously loved pictures. The little girl was smiling big and waving at the camera. Her blonde hair was pulled in pigtails and she was wearing pink robes with a bow on the front.

Sighing, he put that profile aside. Deciding to eliminate all children under the age of five years, he quickly separated the profiles into two piles. Putting all the files of children under the age of five away, he picked up the other pile, noticeably lighter. He then separated this pile into two other; one for boys and one for girls. Picking the boys\' pile up first, he read through them, setting aside those he would consider further, while putting those who he would not back into the file. He did the same to the girls file and noticed that there were now only approximately ten profiles.

\"Jerred Parker, Michael Austin, Lisa Simons, Fiona Curtis, Jessica Agustus,\" he mumbled the names as he scanned them. \"Hmm. Jessica Agustus, seven years of age, born on January the fourth, parents were Jason and Sarah Agustus, and she\'s a half-blood.\"

Severus set Jessica Agustus\' profile aside and continued to scan through the rest. After he finished scanning them, he only had four profiles he was willing to consider. Jessica Agustus being the first, followed by Carolyn Sanchez, Shane Peterson, and Galahad Wildsmith.

Reading through each of the children\'s profiles carefully, Severus tossed Carolyn Sanchez and Shane Peterson and was trying to decide between Jessica Agustus and Galahad Wildsmith. Jessica was only a half blood, whereas Galahad\'s blood was said to be pure. Not wanting to seem biased on account of blood, Severus finally decided on Jessica Agustus. Lifting her picture, he examined it. The blonde haired, green eyed little girl looked up at him curiously, a small smile on her face.

Picking up the file of dismissed profiles, with Jessica\'s on the outside, Severus went to his fireplace, got a pinch of floo powder and flooed to the Minister\'s home.

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A/N: Reviews fuel the muse.