The Python Defense
A bawdy and slightly disturbing H/Hr crack fic by canoncansodoff
A/N: Spam, spam, spam, spam...Crack, crack, crack, crack. Snow-angel Luna from "A Very Harem Christmas" makes an appearance in this chapter, but so does some of the brain-bleach worthy imagery found in Chapter 1. So buckle into your Gringott's cart, and hold onto your lunch…we're in for a wild ride.
Disclaimer: Not my characters, no money being made, etc., etc.
Chapter 16: Some Lovely Filth
Severus Snape knew that he was in a deep pile of dragon shit.
From what Dumbledore both said and left unsaid during a hastily-arranged staff meeting, it was clear that the Dark Lord had launched a failed mental attack on the Potter brat. And he was going to be blamed for that failure. The Slytherin Head needed to know right now what had happened, and what type of defenses were still in place after the attack. And this need prompted him to decline the Headmaster's invitation to a more thorough post-breakfast debriefing. A quick trip to the Infirmary, a Legilimency probe, one or two Obliviate spells (depending on whether the Matron tried to get in his way), and he would have the information needed to limit both the damage and the number of Cruciatus spells.
Unfortunately (at least from his perspective), Severus Snape wasn't the only Head of House who had an interest in evaluating the present state of Harry Potter's Occlumency barriers.
The successfully targeted disarming spell sent Snape sailing backwards towards the Infirmary entrance. He landed on top of a small table, breaking both the table and the contents of the package that had been set out on it. A stunning spell then silenced Snape's moans and groans.
"That tosser!" shrieked the Matron, as she stepped out from behind a cabinet. "To have the nerve…the audacity…to cast a mind-reading spell towards one of my unarmed sleeping patients!"
The unarmed patient opened his eyes and stretched out his arms.
"Not sleeping any more, Madame Pomfrey," Harry noted. He turned towards his now-unconscious attacker, smirked, and added, "Brilliant bit of spell casting, by the way."
The Matron smiled. As she walked towards her patient's bed she replied, "That wasn't me…healers aren't in the habit of generating their own business."
A voice coming from beneath a nearby bed asked, "Even when they deserve it, Poppy?"
Harry sucked in a startled breath when the diminutive Ravenclaw Head popped up into view.
"I should have guessed," he stated. "Thanks for the help, Professor…I hadn't thought about incorporating real-life defenders into my Occlumency barriers."
Flitwick shrugged. "I'm just glad that I got here before he did, and that the guest-announcing charm on the Infirmary's doors gave us enough time to prepare a proper welcome."
The-Boy-Who-Lived looked towards his unconscious assailant and shook his head in disgust.
"I hope that you don't get in trouble for this," he stated. "A fiver gets you twenty that he'll claim that he was trying to help me somehow."
"He can claim that all he wants," said Poppy. "It's a rare day when patients require invasive mind-reading therapies, and that…man…is certainly not a board-certified mind healer."
The Matron walked over towards Snape and frowned.
"Nothing more than a nasty bump on the head."
"Don't sound so disappointed," Harry quipped.
Flitwick said, "I can fix that table quick enough with a Reparo, but as for whatever is leaking out of that parcel?"
Poppy rolled her eyes. "Oh, fabulous…that was my other patient's blood work waiting to be owl-posted to St. Mungo's. She'll be tickled pink to hear that I'll need to draw a replacement sample."
Harry couldn't resist hopping out of his bed and looking for himself.
"Get back into your bed, Young Man," the Matron admonished.
"Yes, Ma'am…say, is that some her blood spattered on Snape's robes?"
Flitwick leaned forward and nodded.
Harry rubbed his chin as he adopted a contemplative pose.
"Hmmm….tell me Matron, would somebody who was splattered with the blood of a quarantined patient have to themselves be quarantined?"
Poppy's eyes grew wide, then narrowed within a calculating gaze.
"Ministry heath regulations do require anyone with direct exposure to the bodily fluids of a Wizard's Flu victim to be held for 24 hours in case symptoms develop," she noted. "Unfortunately, that only applies when there is a confirmed case of the flu."
"Well that's too bad," said Harry. "Don't suppose it would help if the blood-spattered git started to show one or two of the characteristic symptoms?"
Poppy thought for a moment, then grinned.
"I believe a case can be made for full quarantine if someone exposed to those bodily fluids develops at least two of the four diagnostic symptoms."
"Does it matter which two?"
Poppy responded with a smile and small head shake.
"I'm going to go get that second blood sample from Madame Umbridge," she stated. "Would you two mind the blood-spattered git while I'm away?"
Harry smiled widely. "No worries, Matron…and while you're there, you might want to make up a second bed."
"Just in case, right?"
"Yes, yes…just in case."
Poppy grabbed Harry's arm and guided him back into bed. She then headed towards the converted isolation ward, whistling a lively tune along the way.
Professor Flitwick turned towards Harry and asked, "Something you care to share with me?"
"Yes, Sir…the four diagnostic symptoms for Wizard's Flu are an irritated bowel, fever, hair loss, and runny eyes."
Hermione Granger would have been positioned to add an extra wand to her boyfriend's real-life Occlumency Barriers had Lisa, Susan and Daphne not redirected her away from the Infirmary and towards the Seventh Floor.
"My Head of House cornered me before breakfast," Lisa told her. "Told me that he was going to spend the morning working with Harry."
"I guess that makes sense," the bushy-haired witch replied.
"So where are we going, exactly?" asked Daphne.
Susan glanced back over her shoulder and replied, "Where do you…oh, right. You've only flown Air Dobby there before."
"Ah," said Daphne. "So will it be a shower, or a swim?"
"Can't hold much of a discussion when you are swimming, can you?" asked Lisa.
The Slytherin snorted. "Nobody had a problem flirting in the pool last night."
Susan giggled. "No Harry this time…want to flirt when it's just us girls?"
Hermione stifled a snort, and choked off verbalizing a joke that would have been just as self-incriminating as funny.
When the four witches reached the seventh-floor of the castle and approached the magical portrait of tu-tu wearing trolls, a wooden door appeared on the wall opposite.
"Huh…that's funny," said Hermione. "So somebody is already inside, and doesn't mind if we join them?"
"Same thing happened the other night when you were showing those Python movies," Lisa noted.
"Wonder who it might be," said Hermione. "Better safe than sorry?"
The other three agreed, and they cautiously entered the Room of Requirement with wands drawn. But what they discovered was far more Currier and Ives than curses.
It was an expansive winter landscape of snow-covered forested hills and distant horizons. Snowflakes were lightly falling, and a path led down towards a cluster of quaint cottages on the edge of an ice-covered pond some hundred meters distant.
Daphne struggled to understand the dramatic shift in setting. "So has magic brought the outside inside, or just shuttled us to the outside?"
Lisa caught a large, falling snowflake in her hand and watched it melt.
"We're still inside the Room," she concluded.
"How do you figure?"
"The air temperature is too warm, and the melting point of this snow is too high for it to be real."
Susan gave Lisa's arm an affectionate squeeze, and playfully gushed, "My girlfriend is so smart!"
"A comfortable, climate-controlled winter wonderland?" Hermione muttered, shaking her head in amazement. "Who would need this the most?"
The answer to this question was provided when the door to one of the shacks slammed open, and a pink-skinned witch ran barefoot (and bare-arsed) out into the snow.
Lisa shook her head and asked, "Could it have been anyone else?"
Hermione pocketed her wand and began walking down the path as the skyclad witch began to roll on the snow-covered ground. The other three followed.
"But why is she starkers right now?" asked Susan.
"Does Luna ever need a reason to be starkers?"
"Erm…yeah. Never mind."
As the four witches approached the fifth, she stopped rolling, jumped up, then fell backwards onto an undisturbed section of magically-enhanced snow.
"What are you doing, Luna?" Hermione called out.
"Making snow angels," the Ravenclaw replied, as she swept her arms and legs out and back.
"Why are you doing that?" Daphne asked.
The Ravenclaw sat up and shrugged. "Because the Room knew that I needed to make snow angels more than I needed to jump into a hole in the ice?"
Hermione shifted her attention towards the wooden shack from which Luna had emerged. She looked through the opened door and said, "But why would you….ah, sauna."
Luna shook her head. "No, Hermione…you're supposed to stretch that first 'a' out…here, let me show you."
The petite witch leaped to her feet and ran back towards the small windowless shack. The other four looked at each other for a few moments, then shrugged their shoulders and followed behind.
The front half of the structure was a small, sparsely-furnished room. A second wooden door on the opposite wall was closed shut. Next to this door were a small oak table and a stack of fluffy white towels. A curtain-less shower was tucked into one corner, with a plate-sized rain water nozzle suspended over a cedar-planked platform and hidden drain. The side walls had bare wooden pegs that were set at eye-level above empty wall-mounted shelves.
"Where did Luna go?" Daphne asked.
"I'm sure she's in the next room," said Hermione.
"Probably saying 'Aaaaaaaaah'," the bushy-haired witch quipped. "This is a Muggle sauna…a popular place to relax and socialize, particularly in Scandinavia."
The Slytherin witch scrunched up her nose, signaling her confusion. She scrunched it again when Hermione began to unfasten her robes.
"What are you doing?"
"Do I need a reason?"
"Yes, Hermione, when it's you….you need a reason."
Hermione nodded as she hung her robe on one of the pegs and slipped off her shoes.
"You need to shower before you enter a sauna for the first time," she explained, turning the shower water on to a comfortably warm temperature. She slipped off her knickers, stepped under the spray, and glanced back towards the other three.
"Are you going to join me, or not?"
Lisa snorted. "A bit too crowded for all of us, isn't it?"
Daphne chuckled. "What's a little intimate skin contact between friends…right Hermione?"
The Muggleborn let out an exasperated growl. "Just hurry up, will you?"
Susan rolled her eyes as she slipped her bra straps off her shoulders and turned her back towards Lisa. "Not my fault I've got an extra piece of clothing…unhook me, will you Luv?"
Daphne quipped, "Such a burden, to have fabulous baps that all the boys drool over."
Lisa smiled as she unhooked Susan's strap and cupped each of Susan's breasts as the bra fell to the floor. Grazing her thumbs over her girlfriend's nipples, she noted, "A few of us girls think they are rather drool-worthy too."
The Slytherin witch stepped onto the raised platform and leaned against Hermione's back until her head was under the shower spray.
"Yes, they did seem to get a lot of attention last night, didn't they?" she asked.
Susan frowned as Lisa's thumbs trailed down her belly and hooked into the waistband of her knickers.
"What do you mean?" the pig-tailed witch asked, while her girlfriend pushed her pants down towards her ankles. "I wasn't the one sharing my bed last night."
"It was actually Harry who shared his bed," Daphne noted. "But I was talking about earlier in the night, during the pool party."
Lisa giggled as she stood up and pressed her body against Susan's back. Shifting her grip so that she could roll Susan's nipples in between her fingers, she said, "Yes, Luna was certainly paying attention to these during spin-the-bottle, wasn't she?"
"Not jealous, Lisa?" Daphne asked.
"She shouldn't be," Susan noted, as she led her girlfriend under the spray of warm water. "Since Luna seem just as fascinated with hers as she was with mine."
Hermione giggled, and asked, "So was Luna expecting us to join her this morning?"
Lisa shrugged as she stepped off the platform and squeezed some excess water from her hair. Reaching for the interior door's latch, she replied, "Don't think so… I didn't see her this morning."
"What do you mean? You just saw all of her a few moments ago," said Susan, as she followed her girlfriend.
"Wait," said Hermione. As she reached to turn off the water spray, she noted, "You're supposed to wrap yourself in one of those towels before you go inside."
"Why bother to cover up?" asked Lisa. "We're all friends here, right? And Luna obviously wouldn't mind."
"It's just the way things are done," the Muggleborn replied. She passed out towels, then wrapped one her own around her body. "Once inside, you can always unwrap and sit down on it."
"Why sit on it?" asked Daphne.
"Because the benches might be uncomfortably hot for bare skin and it's bad manners to leave a puddle behind when you stand up."
"So this is some weird communal loo as well?" the pureblood witch asked.
Hermione growled out an exasperated "Oh!" as she pushed past Lisa and yanked open the sauna room's door.
Her face was hit with blast of super-hot air. Luna was sitting on a cedar bench next to a cast-iron wood-burning stove. Her face and chest was hidden behind an upside down copy of The Quibbler. Her lower half, in contrast, was spread wide and on full display.
The blonde-haired witch poked her head out from her newspaper and said, "It's 'Aaaaaah,' not 'Oh,' Hermione…and do come in and close the door before the Saunatonttu get annoyed, will you?"
The Muggleborn let out an amused snort as she complied with the Ravenclaw's request, and encouraged the other three witches to get inside before all of the hot air was let out. It was an extremely close fit as they unwrapped their towels and tried to find a place to sit all at the same time. Lisa and Susan ended up across from Luna and the wood stove, while Daphne and Hermione shared the bench that faced the door.
Once they were settled, Daphne glanced down at the knee that was pressed against the Slytherin's leg. She looked up at its owner and asked, "Wouldn't you be more comfortable sitting on somebody's lap, Luna?"
"Yes I would, but the Saunatonttu wouldn't be very happy with me.."
"What are Saunatonttu?" Susan asked.
"They're the elves that inhabit saunas and punish those who misbehave within them," Luna explained.
"And sitting on someone's lap is considered misbehaving?" Lisa asked.
Her house mate shook her head. "No, that's allowed…it's the nipple licking and fanny fingering that they frown upon."
Hermione chuckled. "So one thing would inevitably lead to the others?"
Luna caught Daphne's gaze and smiled.
"Did you know that the Hottubtonttu are far more open-minded when it comes to nipple licking and fanny fingering?"
Daphne caught a small breath in her throat, then exhaled. She formed an enigmatic smile on her lips as she gave the Ravenclaw's knee an affectionate squeeze and said, "No, I didn't Luna…but I'll keep that in mind."
Susan rubbed her arm against her forehead and whined, "Merlin, it's hot!"
"Yes, I suppose that it is," Luna replied.
"So what do we do now?" Susan asked.
"You are supposed to relax, silly," the Ravenclaw replied.
"But I can't relax when it's this hot!"
Daphne leaned forward, and watched the first drop of her sweat drop towards the cedar plank floor.
"I agree…can we get on with it?"
Luna arched her eyebrow. "It looks to me like you are getting on with it, Daphne."
"But we're not here to sweat like pigs and roll naked in the snow."
"No," said Lisa. "We brought Hermione her to discuss her issues."
"Aaaaaaaah," Luna replied. "That makes sense. The sauna is both a place to socialize with friends, and an experience that facilitates contemplative endeavors."
"Did you expect us to show up?" Daphne asked.
Luna shrugged. "At some point in time…I was thinking of a nice place to share with my friends and their benefits when I paced in front of the entrance."
"Wow," the Muggleborn said. "Wonder if the Room's magic was strong enough to guide us here this morning."
"Maybe," said Lisa. "On the other hand, where else would you want to go for a private chat?"
"Someplace not as hot?" Susan asked.
"I meant how the Room is set up," said Lisa. She looked across to Luna and asked, "Have you been here before, then?"
Her house mate smiled and nodded her head. "It's always this way when I visit the Room by myself."
"So can we talk about Hermione's issues?" Susan asked. "Quicker we sort her out, quicker we can get out of this furnace."
"I'm afraid that it doesn't work that way," Luna offered. "The Saunatonttu will insist that you relax before the sauna can aid any self-reflection."
"How can I relax when I feel like a boiled lobster?" the Hufflepuff asked.
Luna shrugged. "Give it some time…unless you four would rather hold this discussion in the yawna?"
"The what?" asked Hermione.
"The yawna, next door," said Luna, matter-of-factly. "You wouldn't expect me to sleep inside the sauna, would you?"
Daphne giggled, and teasingly asked, "So are there yawnatonttu next door that will punish anyone that wants to lick their friends or finger their benefits?"
"I don't know," Luna replied. "Would you like to find out?"
Luna smiled widely, and let out a little cheer.
Lisa tried to steer the group back on topic. "Right, so until we've relaxed , no talking serious issues…like house elf ownership, or Hermione's hypocritical stance on the content of Harry's wet dreams."
"I'm glad we're in agreement, then," said Luna with a smile. "Best we talk about something a bit lighter…like Hermione's emergent bisexuality."
Susan winced. "Too late…I can't take the heat anymore!"
The Hufflepuff stood and dashed out the sauna door.
Luna stood and said, "Are you three coming?"
The three remaining witches were definitely ready to cool down. They quickly followed Susan and Luna "outside," and found relief (and a surprising amount of enjoyment) as they rolled in a fresh blanket of magically-enhanced snow.
Once the slowly-melting snow turned from refreshingly cool to uncomfortably cold, the five witches returned to the sauna.
"So how long do we have to stay inside this time?" asked Susan.
"Until you can't stand the heat for one second more," Luna replied.
Susan winced. "And then we're supposed to run out and roll in the snow again?"
"Would you like me to ask the Room to cut a hole in the ice instead?"
"No, that sounds even worse," said Daphne.
"Can we get on to Hermione's insecurities?" asked Susan.
"It doesn't sound like you're very relaxed, Susan," Luna stated.
"I can't relax when it's so hot! Why are we even holding this discussion here?"
Luna shrugged. "Because it's the next best thing to being naked in bed with Harry?"
Hermione gave Luna a fish-eye. "Speaking from experience, then?"
"Oh, no…here we go again," said Daphne.
"Your attitude, Dear," the Slytherin replied. "Why should it matter if Luna has been naked in bed with Harry? All of the rest of us have…you've even orchestrated it."
"Yes, but there were perfectly logical reasons for that," Hermione countered. "Would you have rather spent the last night in your own dorm room, worrying about what Pansy might do while you were asleep?"
"So it's all altruism, then?" Daphne asked. "You've gotten nothing from sharing your bed with us? And the simulated sex in front of Myrtle…that's only for Harry's benefit?"
"That's right," Hermione agreed. "So that he gets revenge for what Snape has done to him during those Remedial Potions lessons."
"Oh my," said Luna. "It doesn't sound like Daphne is relaxing, does it?"
"So let's take it outside, then," Susan suggested.
She bolted for the door and disappeared. The others decided that it would be a good time for another cool down (both physically and emotionally).
A few minutes later, Susan once again reached the point where rolling naked in the snow provided more discomfort than heat relief. She stood and clamped her knees together.
"Getting cold?" asked Lisa.
Her girlfriend shook her head. "I have to use the lavatory."
"Pee or poo?" Luna asked.
"Does it really matter to you?" the Hufflepuff asked.
The younger witch shrugged. "If all I need to do is pee, I usually just go in the woods behind the yawna."
"Erm….okay. But what if I have to do…erm…more than just pee?"
Luna nodded, and pointed towards a small shack that stood farthest away from the pond.
"The poona is over there."
"The poona…where you can poo."
"Why would you call it a poona?" Daphne asked.
The blonde Ravenclaw rolled her eyes, and replied, "Because it might be confusing if I called it the loo-na?"
Susan's needs prompted her to dash towards the outhouse before a consensus could be reached on an appropriate name.
Hermione stood and brushed the snow from her bum.
"Well, I'm ready to head back inside."
Lisa nodded. "Think Susan could find her way back if we joined you?"
"Better question might be whether she would want to find her way back inside," the Gryffindor replied. "She might rather take a nap in Luna's yawna."
"Now that sounds rather naughty," said Daphne. "Might be better, though…don't see how we'll be able to talk for more than five minutes at a time in the sauna."
"We could always talk as we walk through the woods?" Luna offered.
"With or without our clothes?" Lisa asked.
The Ravenclaw shrugged. "Wrackspurts enjoy nesting in fabric."
Daphne shrugged too. "Don't really need to wear clothes with this room temperature and the not-so-cold snow."
Hermione's eyes lit up. "Luna…this is where you ran naked through the woods with Harry, isn't it!"
The Ravenclaw nodded. "Up until now, he's been the only other person I've shared this place with."
Daphne grinned. "So did you show Harry your yawna?"
Lisa shook her head. "That's a rather personal question, isn't it?"
Luna turned towards the Slytherin, grabbed her hands, and smiled. "Would you like me to show you my yawna, Daphne?"
The other blonde-haired witch squeezed Luna's hands and grinned. "Sounds like fun, but I'd probably just fall asleep, given how early we woke this morning."
"I'm sure that Luna could find ways to keep you awake," Lisa teased.
Hermione grinned. "Yes, but only if the yawna elves would allow it."
Lisa let out a healthy laugh. "Still need to talk about house elves and hot dreams," she then stated. "And I still haven't heard what happened this morning…other than Umbitch having a really bad hair day…maybe there's time to tell that story?"
Hermione snorted. "We still only know our half of it…that's why I wanted to talk with Harry."
"But he's got better things to do right now than justify his crowded wet dreams, right?" Daphne asked.
"I suppose so."
"Well, Professor Flitwick said he'd have Harry busy all morning, and half a story is better than none," Lisa stated. She glanced towards the sauna, and added, "Just so long as it can be told in under five minutes."
"Well that won't work," Daphne replied. "Especially if we start the story at the point when I first woke up and found my fist buried in between Hermione's legs."
"Daphne!" the Muggleborn hissed.
"Definitely want to start there," Lisa replied brightly. "So if the sauna is too hot, and if Daphne's ready to fall asleep…"
"Daphne could talk about fists and fannies while we make snow angels?" Luna suggested.
"No, too cold, even with this magic snow," Lisa replied.
Susan, having returned to the group, agreed. "And the sauna is too hot."
"Yes, we've established that point," said Daphne. She turned towards the cottages and asked, "So do those last buildings have dedicated purposes, Luna?"
"Yes, the closest one is where we could all have lunch," Luna replied.
Hermione chuckled. "So let's see…we've got a sauna, a yawna, a poona…that must mean that the dining area is called…"
"The spoona?" Daphne joked.
Luna's wide eyes grew even wider.
"That's right…so why didn't Mr. Hat make you a Ravenclaw?"
"Because Harry's harem needed at least one witch from every House?" Daphne quipped.
And at that very moment in Hogsmeade Village, the chasers were inspired to do some chanting.
"What about that last one?" Lisa asked.
Luna replied, "Oh, that's just the spa-na."
Susan's eyes widened. "Well why didn't you tell us that you had a spa, Luna?"
The quirky Ravenclaw shrugged. "Didn't I mention the open-minded Hottubtonttu that live there?"
The pig-tailed witch arched her eyebrows. "Hot..tub…tont…tu? Oh, I'm so there!" she squealed, as she turned and ran towards the spa-na.
The other witches followed, and soon found themselves soaking in an indoor hot tub that was just as big but far more rustic than the one located within the Prefect's Bath. The waters were so soothing that Hermione couldn't find the energy needed to complain when Daphne began at the very start of their early morning story.
Severus Snape woke with a feeling of intense dread…as if something precious had been taken away from him. He immediately reached down to confirm that his bits were still attached. The small sigh of relief that escaped from his lips was sucked back in when he realized that not everything was still in place down there…his pubes had gone missing, and his shorts had been swapped out for a magical adult-sized nappie.
A loud burst of flatulence shifted the wizard's attention towards its source. He turned towards the only other person in the room and shouted, "D'oh!"
The bedridden witch whose bald head and missing eyebrows had prompted Snape's pained reaction snorted.
"Don't think [phhhhhhht!] for a moment that your ugly mug or your uglier-smelling toots are any prettier, Dearie."
The Potions Master didn't know what was worse…the sight of a bald High Inquisitor, the smell of her 'toots', or the fact that she had just called him 'Dearie'. He reached up and winced when his fingers rubbed across his own bare scalp.
"My hair! Where am I? What happened to me?"
Umbridge shook her head as she waved her blankets. "In the isolation ward of the Infirmary," she replied. "As for what happened…my first thought [phhhhhhht!] was that this was the Headmaster's doing. But now that you're here…"
"Potter!" Snape hissed.
Umbridge shrugged as yet another blast was released underneath her blankets. "We are displaying all of the symptoms of someone with Wizard's Flu. Ministry health regulations call for complete isolation until the diagnosis is confirmed or rejected by blood tests."
"Two days, according to the Matron," Umbridge spat out. "I don't know if that's actually true, but without my wand or access to the floo…"
Snape sucked in a deep breath as he reached first for his wrist-mounted wand, and then for the illegal second wand that he kept hidden in a notice-me-not charmed ankle holster.
"She took yours same as she did mine," Umbridge lamented. "Hiding behind more ministry protocols…it's dangerous for witches or wizards infected with the flu to do magic."
"It is preposterous to think that I have Wizard's Flu," Snape declared. "I was in perfect health when I [phhhhhhht!]…oh, pardon…when I entered the Infirmary this morning."
The conviction behind this statement was undercut by the coinciding incontinence.
"Same with me," Umbridge agreed. "And don't bother to excuse yourself…if we do that every time one of us has a release of gas we'll never be able to finish our sentences."
As Snape considered the ramifications of this statement, Umbridge turned towards a bedstand that was positioned on the other side of her bed. The edge of her blanket fell down as she rolled over, liberating some of the gas that had been trapped underneath.
"Oh, stop it, Severus," the witch admonished, grabbing the small jar that was sitting on the nightstand. She rolled back into a sitting position, twisting open the jar cap, then dipped two fat little fingers inside.
Snape would have arched his eyebrows, had he possessed any.
"Restorative tonic," Umbridge stated, as she began to smear the retrieved dollop of ointment into her pasty-white scalp. "Regrowing and keeping your hair is a counter indication for the diagnosis of Wizard's Flu."
"Ah, I see."
The Potions Master glanced away from the head-rubbing witch towards the room's only visible exit.
"The door is locked, and I'm magically tethered to this bed," Umbridge stated. "Don't expect that you're any different."
"What do you propose [phhhhhhht!] we do?" asked Snape, wincing after this latest passing of noisome gas.
Umbridge's eyes narrowed. "We can [phhhhhhht!] use this time to plan our revenge on those [phhhhhhht!] who have wronged us!" she declared. "Now turn over and face the wall."
"Why should I do that?"
The bald witch rolled her eyes. "Because you have to show that all of your hair has grown back…not just the hair that was growing out of your head. So unless you want to watch as I reach into my nappie and rub ointment onto my privates…"
"Say no more!" Snape shouted, throwing his shoulders around violently and averting his gaze as quickly as he could.
"It will only take five or ten minutes," said Dolores. "You can use this ointment after that."
Snape winced when he heard this response. He winced even more when he heard the onset of flesh rubbing.
"No thank you…I'll ask the Matron for my own jar."
"Suit [phhhhhhht!] yourself, Severus."
The Potion Master's entire body shook by a mixture of rage and revulsion. The thought of being stuck in a small room for two days with a flatulent toadish witch like Umbridge…and being forced to listen as she rubbed oil on her fanny…was the stuff of nightmares.
Or perhaps…the stuff of false memories?
Snape hissed, thinking that he was somehow once again inside the Potter brat's head, and had been duped by a manufactured gross-out dreamscape. The Slytherin House Head closed his eyes and concentrated on pulling out of the planted memory.
He opened his eyes, heard Umbridge's farting and rubbing, and cursed his present reality.
The full hot-tub accounting of how Harry, Daphne and Hermione ultimately ended up in Madame Pomfrey's bed that morning was so riveting that nobody thought to test whether Hottubtonttu cared about sitting on laps or licking on benefits.
The story raised questions and catcalls in near-equal amounts. Lisa wondered out loud whether the Matron should be invited to the next pool party, given how willing she was to cover for the trio. Hermione explained that Pomfrey wasn't initially so forgiving, and that it wasn't until she scraped a sample of black gunk off of Harry's forehead that she began to soften. Daphne then noted all of the Matron's choicest words and sharpest tone of voice was directed towards Dumbledore in abstentia. She had long suspected that there was far more to his lightning-bolt scar than just damaged skin tissue, and had previously brought these concerns to the Headmaster. He had waved away her concerns, just as he had waved away her annually-presented suspicions about Harry's maltreatment and undernourishment during Summer Holidays. Hermione bristled when this last fact was retold to the group, swearing that there was no way in Hell that Harry would be returning to his Aunt and Uncle's house this year.
Susan was willing to pick up the story at the point where she arrived at the Infirmary with the two female Heads of Houses in tow, but Lisa jumped in first with some questions. Hermione restated her desire to first get Harry's side of the story, and called for Dobby. The house elf popped into the spa-na balancing a tray of champagne-filled crystal flutes on his head. He carefully set the tray down near the edge of the tub, then leaned over the edge and whispered into Hermione's ear. What he said caused the look on the Muggleborn's face to quickly shift from intense anger to intense amusement, and then to semi-reluctant understanding. He popped away before Hermione could ask any questions.
"What was that all about?" Daphne asked.
"Harry's still working with Professor Flitwick," Hermione said.
"Is that what's got your knickers in a twist?" Lisa asked.
Hermione scowled and shook her head. "Snape tried to sneak into the Infirmary and rifle through Harry's mind while he was asleep in bed."
"That bastard!" Daphne hissed.
"Must not have worked," said Lisa. "Or was there some other reason for your giggles and the champagne?"
Hermione nodded as she grabbed one of the flutes and told them that Snape had been stopped by Professor Flitwick, then pranked the same way that they'd pranked Umbridge. Susan thought that this was more than enough reason to celebrate, so she pushed herself up out of the sunken tub, and began passing out the other glasses of champagne. Lisa thanked Susan for offering her a glass by pulling her head down for a kiss. Luna thought that this was such a good idea that she did the same. Daphne giggled, and followed form, causing Hermione to jokingly pout, and complain about feeling left out. Susan called the Muggleborn's bluff by slipping back into the tub next to Hermione and pulling her head in for a brief (but intense) snog.
Lisa and Luna would have toasted any successful prank made on Umbridge or Snape, but it wasn't until Susan picked up the story and explained Daphne's carefully-chosen set of hexes that they fully appreciated the magnitude of what had been accomplished. Having Snape experience the same set of symptoms, and be forced to spend the weekend in isolation with the High Inquisitor, was icing on the cake (and more than enough reason to lift their glasses in a toast).
As they sipped the "yummy fizzy-beer" (as Luna described it), Susan wondered out loud if Dobby's response to Hermione's call meant that Air Dobby was still flying. This led to a discussion of the Headmaster's description of the limited circumstances in which a house elf could transport students within the castle. Hermione was convinced that Harry must have enslaved Dobby behind her back, in spite of his professed support for S.P.E.W.'s mission. Daphne chided the Muggleborn for immediately assuming the worst, and (more importantly) for reaching a conclusion before she had all the facts. Susan and Daphne then proceeded to provide those facts…that house elves had to be bound either to a magical family or to Hogwarts or else they would lose their magic and die within a year or two. Hermione used Dobby as the centerpiece of her counterargument…until she realized that his continued survival as a Free Elf might have been due to Dobby not being as free as she thought.
Luna suggested that they run down to the kitchens to interview the Hogwarts house elves first hand, but nobody else was all that anxious to get out of the hot tub and get dressed. Luna asked the predictable question concerning the necessity of clothing, and (once that idea was shot down) suggested that they could always call for Dobby and ask him directly. This approach was quickly agreed upon, but didn't bear fruit…none of them were able to summon the house elf by calling out his name. This was cause for great concern, with the worry being that Dumbledore had somehow grounded Dobby after his champagne delivery. Daphne wondered if all it had taken was someone pointing out to the little guy that none of them were actually part of Harry's family. Luna replied with a loud laugh and a big slap of water in the Slytherin's direction. She then asked if they weren't part of Harry's family, then who was? Susan nodded, and reminded the group of the Headmaster's comments about Dobby's ability to occasionally play fast-and-loose with the rules that supposedly governed house elf behavior. Daphne agreed, noting that Dobby had pulled her out of her bed and into Harry's shower even before he became anyone's real or pretend boyfriend.
Daphne's retelling of how Ron Weasley mistakenly thought that she was Cho Chang hiding under Harry's invisibility cloak drew laughter from everyone but Hermione. And the frown on her lips proved the perfect segue into a spirited discussion over her concerns about Harry's harem-filled dreams. When pressed, the Muggleborn was forced to admit that she had some naughty dreams involving more than just "Harry's very big penis," but said that there was a difference, given that the other sex-partners in her most recent erotic dreams were women. Susan asked why there was a difference, since it seemed that Harry was dreaming about other women as well. Hermione explained that the female partners in her dreams weren't a threat to replace Harry as her boyfriend, because they weren't boys.
Lisa didn't like this answer very much, and called the bushy-haired witch on it…saying that by discounting the potential for women as life partners, Hermione was marginalizing bisexual and lesbian relationships. The Muggleborn argued that it had nothing to do with her views on same-sex relationships…since she was straight, her subconscious fantasies about same-sex partners didn't mean that she was going to replace her real-life boyfriend with a real-life girlfriend.
This explanation drew snorts of amusement around the tub, and led to an explicit recounting of all of the real-life naughty activities that Hermione had enjoyed with real-life girls. A night-by-night tally of where she had slept over the previous two weeks (and with whom) led to the realization that she had spent almost as much time sharing a bed with a witch as with her boyfriend. She had even spent a night alone in bed with Lisa and her strap-on toy. Hermione once again said that it was all for a good cause…that it was done to protect Susan and Lisa's secrets. Daphne snorted, and asked Hermione to explain that morning, before Voldemort interrupted Harry's wet dream. She said that while providing her a safe place to sleep was certainly altruistic, that the start of a mutual wank session went beyond any concerns for her safety.
Hermione grew very quiet at this point, and asked Daphne if she regretted what had happened that morning. The Slytherin laughed, shook her head, and said she wished things had gone further…with both of her bed partners. She also was willing to own up to enjoying all of the same-sex kisses she had given and received during their pool party game of spin the bottle…especially when Luna insisted on providing her kisses while sitting on Daphne's lap.
Luna was so happy to hear this admission that she dived across the water and did a thong-free recreation of the game.
The Hottubtonttu didn't seem to object.
As Susan watched Luna aggressively snog the Slytherin witch, she decided to take advantage of the break in conversation, and jumped towards Lisa (intent on working off some of the sexual arousal she'd generated during the smutty recounting of Hermione's complex love life). Her girlfriend held her back just long enough to ask Hermione if wanted to join in a group snog.
The Muggleborn considered the offer for a moment, then shook her head, and encouraged the couple to carry on.
Luna then broke off her open-mouth kiss with Daphne and asked if Hermione would rather play with their benefits. Again, Hermione politely declined (but for less altruistic reasons…she was really interested in just how far the seemingly mis-matched same-sex couple would go if given the opportunity). Daphne arched an eyebrow, then shrugged as Luna began kissing her neck.
Hermione looked at the empty champagne glass in her hand, then reached over the edge of the tub and set it down on the serving tray. A breath caught in her throat when the glass was instantly refilled. She wondered if she could get tipsy from a possible violation of Gamp's Third Law. Then she remembered just how yummy the "yummy fizzy-beer" had been, and decided that one more drink wouldn't likely matter either way. Harry Potter's "Firstus" took the filled glass in hand, then leaned her back against the side of the tub wall so that she could check for any progress in the coupling.
There was progress.
Daphne was enjoying Luna's nibbling with her eyes closed. She was resting her weight against arms that were stretched out along the edge of the tub, which allowed her bum to float up off of the submerged bench, and lifted her breasts about the water's surface. Luna's kisses had taken advantage of this new-found exposure and drifted down towards the Slytherin's chest.
Hermione thought about the attention that Daphne had paid to her breasts that morning as they had helped Harry beat back Voldemort's attack. As one hand raised her glass to her lips, the other reached under the neck-deep water and began to lightly tweak her own nipple. A few moments later, Daphne lazily opened her eyes and caught Hermione staring. She smiled, gave the Gryffindor a saucy wink, and offered another invitation with a wave of the hand.
The Muggleborn considered the offer for a moment, then shook her head, and encouraged the couple to carry on. Daphne shrugged and dropped her hand under the water in search of a submerged target.
A bit unnerved by having Daphne watch her as she watched them, Hermione's eyes drifted towards the other couple. Susan's back was turned towards the Gryffindor, as she sat astride one of her girlfriend's thighs. The Hufflepuff had lifted her girlfriend's other leg out of the water, and was rhythmically grinding as her partner thrust her hips to the same beat. It was Lisa who looked over her lover's shoulder and caught Hermione's eyes. She smiled, and offered a second invitation with a wave of her free hand.
The Muggleborn considered the offer for a moment, then shook her head, and encouraged the couple to carry on.
Hermione could truthfully say that she wasn't 100% ready to engage in real-life non-simulated full-blown lesbian sex…at least not without Harry present. But she was now willing to admit (at least to Harry and the rest of his so-called harem) that she really liked to watch real-life non-simulated full-blown lesbian sex. Hermione thought back to the one relevant scene that hadn't been recounted that morning…the time that she was hidden under Dobby's invisibility spell and masturbated as she watched Lisa pound Susan from behind with her strap-on. Harry was in bed with them that morning…and rather than perv on the live lesbian sex show he had focused on her, and rubbed one off as she perved on the lesbian couple.
So Harry didn't mind his girlfriend voyeurism, and the only differences between that scene and this one were his absence and her fully visible presence…the knowledge that she was watching friends who knew she was watching as they explored benefits. Reaching a decision, Hermione quickly downed the champagne and set it back on the tray, which freed up both hands for some underwater rubbing.
Had she focused less on building an orgasm, and more on what could be seen out of the corner of her eye, she might had a fleeting glimpse of the other members of the audience…a pair of giggling hot tub elves that wore pointy red caps on their heads and trousers that were pushed down around their ankles as they rubbed off.
Having recognized the point of diminished returns, Albus Dumbledore pulled his head away from his pensieve and carefully bottled the memories of his early morning visit to the Infirmary. He would have left them in the bowl, had he not anticipated the possible use of the pensieve that afternoon…the last thing he needed was having the boy enter the wrong memory, and realize that his Headmaster had lifted surface thoughts from his head.
Dumbledore's concerns over the potential discovery of his passive Legilimency skills segued into his concerns over his Potions professor…it was completely unlike Severus to pass up an opportunity to bitch and moan about the son of a dead enemy. The Headmaster wondered if Snape had declined the invitation in anticipation of a summons from Voldemort. Deciding to solve that little riddle, Dumbledore walked to his desk and took a seat at his personal command post. Portraits were questioned, and house elves were both summoned and dispatched. Within moments, the Headmaster had pinpointed his Potion Professor's location to a storage room within the Infirmary.
The first thought to pass through his mind was that Snape was checking on the stock of medicinal potions. But then Dumbledore remembered that the storage room had been converted that morning for another use. He immediately cast a Tempus charm then reached for one of his "special" lemon drops.
It was thirty minutes before noon…a half-hour before Harry's projected release from the Infirmary. The Matron had warned Dumbledore against arguing for an earlier discharge, or pestering her patient while he was still under her care. And Dumbledore had, over the years, grown to appreciate the need to at least pay lip service to these types of warnings. He could have always sent a Patronus charm message to Snape calling for his attendance in the Headmaster's Office, but they had tried to keep that capability outside of Umbridge's awareness. He could also send a house elf directly to that Storage Room. But if Dumbledore was to visit the Infirmary himself, rather than send a message, he could talk to Snape directly. And if Harry just happened to be awake, and willing to answer a few questions?
Dumbledore locked up his office and rode down his circular stairs. Along the way to the Infirmary he considered the optimum set of limited questions he might get away with asking the Potter boy...questions that might not result in direct answers, but might cause the young man to unknowingly bring useful bits of information up into his surface thoughts.
Once the couples decoupled and everyone had found release (including the voyeuristic hot-tub elves) the teen-aged witches leaned back against the tub walls and caught their breaths. Hermione got everyone's attention by pointing out her thrice-filled champagne glass on the serving tray. The other four were quick to replicate her results, and were rewarded with their own filled glasses of yummy fizzy-beer.
There wasn't much conversation as Hermione and the others sipped on that champagne…or at least not much verbal conversation. The giggles and knowing smiles said plenty, and what had just taken place seemed to have settled the issues surrounding Hermione's concerns with Harry's wet dreams. If she was going to get off watching that sort of thing in real life, and be tempted into joining in herself, then how could she possibly find fault if Harry only dreamed about the same cast of characters?
Questions remained about Dobby's relationship to both Harry and themselves, but he still wouldn't answer the call. The group decided not to worry about this, correctly assuming that Harry's current situation was far more tenuous than their own, and thinking that he probably needed Dobby's attention far more than they did.
As they continued to soak, the conversation drifted towards their families, and to their lives outside of Hogwarts. It was the kind of informational exchange that takes place whenever a group thrown together by circumstance works out the potential for new friendships. But it was also the kind of revelatory story swapping that a romantic couple might undertake in the early stages of their relationship (as they tried to work out whether they had a long-term future).
If they had been asked, any of the five witches would had decided that the latter was far closer to their truth than the former.
Having spent far more time than he either anticipated or desired inside the isolation ward, Headmaster Dumbledore opened the door and stepped back into the main patient care area. He pretended not to hear the screeched invectives and shouted complaints that these two patients were hurling towards his back. Harry Potter made no effort to pretend that he couldn't hear the complaints and disparaging comments that carried into the rest of the Infirmary, and was quite open about expressing his amusement over the situation. He even thought to take notes, since some of the more creative insults were worthy of re-use by the taunting Frenchman that was currently patrolling the castle walls of his mindscape.
Dumbledore shook his head as he used a Finite Incantatum spell to cancel out the extra-strength bubblehead charm that he'd worn during his chat with the two patients (which had been cast to account for the smells rather than any fear of infection). He then turned towards the Matron and asked, "Is there any way that Professor Snape could be released from this confinement?"
"Absolutely not," Poppy replied. She pulled a scroll out of her robe pocket and unrolled it. "Would you care to review the pertinent ministry health regulations?"
The Headmaster shook his head. "I am confident that your decisions are well-grounded by the ministry's regulatory authority. I only ask that you consider certain extenuating circumstances, as well as The Greater Good…"
"Look, Headmaster…you might be able to pick and choose which ministry directives to ignore with impunity, but I have neither the power nor the inclination to risk my job or the health of the students and staff of Hogwarts just because you deem it necessary for some so-called greater good!"
Poppy glanced back over her shoulder when she heard someone clapping his hands.
"Well said, Matron…well said!" Harry cheered.
Dumbledore muttered something under his breath as he glared towards the teen-aged wizard. He then cast a Tempus charm, and nodded in satisfaction.
"Very well then, Poppy…as we have reach the promised hour of your third patient's discharge, I ask that you remit Mr. Potter into my custody."
The Matron cast her own time check, then started towards Harry, huffing and puffing along the way about the rush. She insisted on performing a final diagnostic scan. What that scan revealed shifted her attitude from annoyance to something closer to wonder.
"Remarkable," she mumbled, as she reviewed the test results (as recorded on parchment with an auto-quill). Poppy looked up at Harry and said, "Despite this latest ordeal, your magical core has not only recovered…it is stronger than before!"
Harry shrugged. "Any chance that the black gunk limited or partially-blocked my magic?"
"I'm not certain," the Matron replied. "It could also have been some kind of siphon or parasite."
Her patient's eyes flashed towards the beard-stroking Headmaster who appeared lost in his thoughts.
"What is your opinion, Sir?" Harry asked. "Do you have any reason to suspect that something inside my scar was draining my magical strength?"
There was a lull in the conversation, before Dumbledore shook himself free of his musings.
"What? Oh, well…yes, it is possible," he stated. "It appears that you have lost your ability to use Parseltongue. Perhaps the magical energy used to support that rare skill is now available for other uses."
"Direct or indirect support?" Harry asked.
Harry sighed. "Sir, if your theory is correct, do you think that my core was directly supporting my Parseltongue ability, or feeding something else that provided me with that skill?"
"It is hard to say," the Headmaster replied evasively, casting a wary glance towards the Matron. "Perhaps that is a topic better explored after your release."
Poppy snorted as she set her wand down on Harry's bedside table and began removing the gauze that was wrapped around his head.
"Well, given the residual magic that was coming off of that discharge, I'd vote for indirect feeding…by the way, Headmaster, any information to share about that sample?"
Dumbledore shook his head. "Nothing that I feel confident enough to share with you at this time."
The Matron deconstructed this evasive non-answer and shook her head in thinly-disguised disgust.
"Well would you look at that?" she asked, once the head dressing was removed. "You can hardly see the scar now!"
"Really?" asked Harry, as he looked into the hand-held mirror that the Matron had conjured. "Thanks, Poppy! That salve worked brilliantly!"
"It's no different or stronger than what I've applied before," she replied. "It's what happened this morning that burst open that cursed scar that must have done the trick."
Dumbledore frowned. "Mr. Potter, I must ask you to allow me to apply a glamour charm that restores your forehead its former appearance."
"Why would I want to let you do that?"
"There are some who would notice the scar's disappearance."
Harry snorted. "So?"
The Headmaster's nostrils flared in annoyance. "That scar was a symbol of hope for everyone within Magical Britain…a reminder for witches and wizards across the land that Good can always find a way to prevail over Evil."
The-Boy-Who-Lived let out an incredulous snort. "Right…aren't these the same witches and wizards who are now out there calling me dangerous and delusional? And you want me to paint a copy of that ugly scar back onto my forehead for their benefit? That's barmy."
"Mr. Potter, you must consider the Greater Good…"
"Fine," Harry snapped. "I'll consider it….there, I've considered it, and decided that the sheeple can sod off."
"Language!" Poppy gently chided.
Harry shrugged and apologized to the Matron. He then turned back towards the upset Headmaster and said, "Look, Sir…I've always tried to hide the damn thing underneath my bangs. As long as I keep the same hair style, who's to know?"
"It is still a risk…."
Harry wasn't in the mood to listen. He turned towards Poppy and asked, "So can I go now?"
The Matron's eyes darted back and forth between the Headmaster and her patient. She finally let out a deep sigh, and said, "I have no reason to keep you at this time…"
"Brilliant!" Harry declared, as he swung his legs off of the bed. "There's still time for lunch."
"One moment, Harry," Dumbledore said, as he reached out and placed a hand on his leg. "We are not yet finished here."
The teen-aged wizard rolled his eyes. "Sir, you came in here trying to spring me…and now that I'm free you don't want me to go?"
Dumbledore shook his head and turned towards the Matron.
"Madame Pomfrey, if you will allow us a few minutes of privacy?"
The Matron pursed her lips, and was close to kicking both wizards out of her Infirmary before Harry caught her eye and gave her a slight head nod.
"Very well," she said primly. "But the both of you will take care to remember that Mr. Potter is still my patient until he walks out those doors."
The Headmaster gave her a respectful nod.
"Of course, Madame Pomfrey…I thank you for your indulgence."
Poppy stifled a snort as she spun around and started walking towards her office. She had less success stifling the unfavorable comments that she made about the Headmaster along the way.
Dumbledore chose to ignore what he heard in favor of pulling the curtains shut around Harry's bed and casting several different privacy charms.
"If you wanted privacy, why don't you just take me up to your office?" Harry asked.
"It would be wasted effort, as we would just have to turn around and make our way back here," explained the increasingly impatient Headmaster.
"Mr. Potter, if what you've said is true, and Voldemort did make an attempt to breach your Occlumency barriers, then Professor Snape needs to evaluate the current condition of those defenses."
"Yeah, he needs to do that so much that he tried to mind-rape me in my sleep!"
"Mr. Potter! Surely you can't equate your Remedial Potions tuition with sexual assault?"
"Surely I can," Harry replied. "So what are you proposing…that I march into that room and ask Snape to cast another Legilimens spell on me?"
"It's Professor Snape, Harry…and yes, that is the basic idea."
"Thought you didn't want the Ministry to know about this so-called training?"
"But you're proposing that he cast that spell with Umbridge right there in the same room?"
Dumbledore sighed. "I'm sure that we could find a way to distract Madame Umbridge."
"What about Poppy, then?"
"So long as her two patients remain in isolation, she has no need for concern."
"But they won't be isolated if you push me in there."
"You will recall that I just left that ward under the protection of a bubblehead charm…I can simply provide you with that same protection."
"It won't work."
"I assure you, young man, that I am able to cast a bubblehead charm."
"No, I mean that Snape's spell won't work."
The Headmaster sighed. "I doubt that Professor Snape's apparent symptoms would prevent him from casting that particular spell."
"What if he farts in the middle of the incantation?" Harry asked.
"Mr. Potter!" the Headmaster hissed. "Your immaturity is testing my patience."
"And you're not answering the question."
"Very well," Dumbledore growled. "If the caster of that particular spell is…distracted…in the middle of his incantation, the spell simply will not work, and no harm will occur."
"I still say that he won't be able to cast that spell."
"And I suppose that you are willing to share your logic with me?"
Harry snorted. "Sure thing, Headmaster…maybe I think that he'll have problems casting a Legilimancy spell…for the simple reason that he doesn't have his bloody wand!"
Dumbledore's head snapped back in response to the shouted ending of this explanation. He slowly counted to ten, both to calm his anger, and to consider possible work-arounds.
"We can provide Professor Snape with his wand, Mr. Potter."
"Not if the Matron has any say in the matter," Harry replied. "You know that the two of them aren't allowed to do magic right now…are you suggesting that we break into Poppy's locked office?"
"I am certain that she will make allowances given these special and important circumstances."
"Yeah, that line work worked really well the first time you used it on her, didn't it?"
"This is vital, Mr. Potter! Surely you realize the potential dangers of an unshielded mind!"
"Okay, I guess that you agree that your smooth talk won't get you anywhere with the Matron," Harry reasoned. "So what are you proposing…that you steal Snape's wand out of her locked office desk? Planning on knocking her out first, or erasing her memories afterwards?"
"Mr. Potter, I do not have to stand here and listen to your scurrilous attacks."
"No, you certainly don't…neither of us need to be here right now."
"I can't let you go until we know how strong your shields are right now!"
Harry shrugged. "So test them yourself…I don't know why you'd trust any description that Snape provided in the first place."
"Yes, Sir. Professor Snape."
Dumbledore drew his wand.
"Aren't you going to at least bark at me first to clear my mind?"
The Headmaster sucked in a deep breath.
"What I am going to do, Mr. Potter, is cancel my privacy protections. At that point in time, you and I will leave the Infirmary and travel up to my office. Once there, I will take up your suggestion and test the strength of your Occlumency Barriers myself!"
Harry stared at the Headmaster for a moment, then allowed his lips to curl up into a slight smile.
"Well alright, then," he declared. "Let's do it."
As the two wizards left the Infirmary, the-Boy-Who-Lived couldn't help but notice that the Headmaster's robes were now billowing behind him much like Severus Snape's always did. This special effect, when taken along with Dumbledore's thinly-disguised anger, proved inspirational.
Careful to stay two steps behind the Headmaster, Harry began humming the martial melody from the musical score to "The Empire Strikes Back."
"Da-da-dum, dum-de-dum dum-de-dum…."
Dumbledore's avatar was dropped onto the crest of a grass-covered hill, a short distance away from a formidable-looking castle. The landing zone was just upslope from a dozen miserable-looking mud-covered villagers who were hacking at the ground with crude hand tools.
The Headmaster took a few moments to compose himself, knowing that his anger would only make it easier for Harry to bounce him out of the mindscape. Once he felt calm enough to carry on, he started down the hill and called out to one of the villagers.
The person looked up towards the intruder and cried, "Man!"
"Old Man, sorry. What part do you play in these mental defenses?"
"I'm thirty-seven…I'm not old."
Dumbledore nodded. "Certainly not by my lifetime's measure…but I couldn't just call you 'Man'."
"Well, you could say 'Dursley',"
The Headmaster's eyebrow arched a little as he looked more closely at the fat muck-covered Muggle who bore a striking resemblance to Harry's Uncle.
"But I didn't recognize you at first, or realize that your name was Dursley," Dumbledore explained.
"Well you didn't bother to find out, did you?"
"Yes, well…I did say sorry about the 'old woman,' but from the behind you bore a passing resemblance to Molly Weasley…"
"What I object to is you automatically treating me like an inferior!"
Dumbledore shrugged. "Well, I AM the Leader of the Light…"
"Oh, Leader of the Light, eh? Very nice," Vernon scoffed. "An' how'd you get that title, eh? By exploitin' us normal persons with your freakishness…by hanging on to outdated dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences between our two societies! If there's ever going to be any natural behavior in our world…"
"Vernon, there's some lovely filth down here," interrupted a second villager. The skinny rag-wearing woman then twisted her giraffe-like neck towards Dumbledore and said, "Oh…how do you do?"
"How do you do, Mrs. Dursley…you might remember me? I am Albus, Leader of the Light."
"Leader of the who?"
"Who are they, then?"
"Well…everyone who stands against the Darkness. We are all the Light, and I am your Leader."
"I didn't know we had a leader. I thought we were an autonomous collective."
Vernon scoffed. "You're fooling yourself, Petunia. We're just pawns to be sacrificed by a Manipulative Old Bastard. A self-perpetuating freakish autocracy in which normal people…"
Petunia rolled her eyes. "Oh, there you go again, bringing freakish behavior into it…"
"Please, please, Mr. and Mrs. Dursley…I am in haste. Are your nephew's thoughts and memories stored in that castle?"
"Your nephew, Harry Potter."
"Never heard of him," said Petunia.
"Why of course you have, Mrs. Dursley…you took him in when I left him on your doorstep all those years ago after the tragic death of your sister, Lily."
Vernon's cheeks flushed red with rage. He lifted his crude hand tool and yelled, "So it was you!"
"Yes, I was the one that reunited Harry with his only remaining family…"
"Who do you think you were, to do that to us?"
"I am the Leader of the Light!"
"Well, I didn't vote for you," Petunia muttered.
Dumbledore sighed. "You don't vote for Leaders of the Light."
"Well, how did you become Leader, then?"
The Headmaster glanced up towards the heavens, and fondly recalled…
"Many years ago the phoenix known as Fawkes…"
[begin phoenix song]
"…appeared in a brilliant ball of flame, flew to my shoulder, and bonded with me as my familiar, thereby signifying that I, Albus, was The Leader of the Light."
[end phoenix song]
Vernon rolled his eyes. "Listen, you dress-wearing dunderhead…singing birds that burst into flames are no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the electorate, not from some farcical feathered fart."
"Be quiet!" Dumbledore hissed (with some of the anger that he had previously released making a quick return).
"Well, you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because you're cosy-rosy with a tarted-up chicken..."
Vernon shook his head dismissively. "I mean, if I went around saying that I was Leader of the Light just because some whorish hen decides to squawk on my shoulder they'd put me away!"
A banishing hex roughly pushed Vernon away from the Headmaster.
"Ah, now we see the freakishness inherent in the system," the fat Muggle whined.
"Will you shut up!" Dumbledore yelled.
"Now we see the freakishness inherent in the system! HELP! HELP! I'm being attacked!"
"Oh, what a give away," Vernon declared. "Did you hear that, did you hear that, eh? That's what I'm on about…did you see him doing his freakish things to me?"
Dumbledore ended the rant with a silencing spell and a body bind hex that snapped Vernon's arms to his side and toppled him face-first into a mud puddle.
It took no time at all for the angry Headmaster to arrive at the base of the castle's thick stone walls. The taunting French soldier appeared, but his insults fell on deaf ears…literally. The magical ear muffs that Dumbledore conjured kept him from hearing some of the more creative insults (e.g. "Go and boil your buttocks, you color-blinded, empty-headed, geriatric goat-fucker!"), while the tall slab of granite that he normally used to defend against the killing curse proved equally effective against catapulted cows.
The Headmaster found the main gates on the far side of the castle to be guarded by the thong-wearing Knights Who Say Nee. Their "bouncing boobies" distraction defense failed to get a rise out the old wizard, and they were easily placated by a conjured shrubbery that looked nice and wasn't too expensive.
Getting past the castle's outer gates gave Dumbledore access to the Outer Baily, where a dozen different false memories were floating about, just waiting to be activated. The Headmaster was wise enough to ignore these temptations, saving the vial of brain bleach that he always had on hand for the portrait of the naked Fat Lady that hung on the entrance into the Inner Baily. He had no interest at all in manually stimulating the Rubenesque guardian to orgasm, and quickly identified a hidden bypass that seemed far more familiar to him.
The Fat Lady was not amused, and screamed, "That's the wrong hole! That's the wrong hole!"
Dumbledore ignored these complaints as he kept his head down and pushed through to the other side. The quick casting of a rather specialized cleaning charm ("Tergo Santorum!") had Dumbledore's avatar scrubbed up and ready to face the innermost layer of Harry's nested Occlumency barriers.
It was The-Boy-Who-Lived himself, standing next to a narrow channel of water, and in front of a small red and white-striped gate. The teenager was dressed in a khaki uniform and wore a pith helmet.
"Ah, Mr. Potter…I wondered if I might see you within one of these barriers."
Harry took two steps forward and revealed the sardines that he'd been hiding behind his back. He used these sardines to lightly slap the Headmaster's cheeks. He then took two steps back.
"I say, is this some sort of obscure Muggle salutation?" Albus asked.
Harry took two steps forward, slapped the Headmaster's face with the sardines, then took two steps back.
"Hmmm…this is a rather unusual," said Dumbledore. "Are the strength of these fish slaps meant to cast me out of your head?"
Harry took two steps forward, slapped the Headmaster's face with the sardines, then took two steps back.
Dumbledore chuckled. "Might I suggest that you reorder your layers? Better that a weak line of defense such as this be placed at the outer edge of your shields."
Harry took two steps forward, slapped the Headmaster's face with the sardines, then took two steps back.
"I'm sorry, but this is getting annoyingly repetitive," said Dumbledore. "Next time, try a larger species of fish." He then conjured a halibut, took two steps forward, and walloped Harry on the side of his head.
The pith helmet went flying, but the teen-ager somehow managed to stay on his feet.
Dumbledore switched hold of the halibut's tail, setting up a slap that would send Harry tumbling into the water. With his entire focused on breeching this last line of defense, the Headmaster never noticed the seven-foot long, four-hundred pound bluefin tuna…until the giant fish leapt out of the water and crashed into his side.
It took a bit of time for Albus Dumbledore to regain his wits, and to realize that he was no longer within somebody else's mindscape. He was on his back, stretched out on his office floor. A wand-wielding student stood to one side, while a house elf hovered over him, waving an eighteen-inch long brown trout over his head.
"Okay there, Sir?" the student asked.
The Headmaster groaned as he reached for the tender bump that was growing on the right side of his head. "What in Merlin's name…"
"Perhaps we should get you to the Infirmary, Headmaster?"
"No!" Dumbledore hissed, gingerly sitting up off the floor. "I'll manage."
"Are you certain?"
"Yes, Mr. Potter…I fear that I might fall victim to the same strange symptoms than have befallen other recent visitors to that part of the castle."
"Fair enough…Dobby, would you please fetch us a headache potion and some bruise remover from the Infirmary?"
"The Great Harry Potter Sir not be needing my help?"
"I think the Headmaster needs your help more than I do right now," Harry stated.
The house elf dropped the trout onto the floor and popped away.
Dumbledore winced. "Was that your…"
"My last line of defense?" Harry asked. "Absolutely."
The last line of defense popped into the Headmaster's office with a potion in one hand and a poultice in the other. Dumbledore drank the first, then held the second against the house elf's point of attack.
"Dobby always seems to know when I'm hurting," Harry explained. "Trying to counter your Legilimancy probe was hard work…I was sweating and getting a terrific headache. Somehow, the little guy knew I needed help, and instinctively knew what to do once he arrived."
"Does he always travel with a fish that is half his length in size?"
"Erm…no. I sort of gave him an idea of what to do if he ever found me fending off another mental attack."
"But why did he hit me with a fish?"
Harry chuckled. "Because it was less lethal than releasing the tiger, or dropping a sixteen ton weight on your head?"
"Were those things waiting for me had I gotten past your sardines?"
"Perhaps," Harry said slyly. "So now are you ready to share what you really think about that scar?"
The Headmaster stood up, and threw the sternest look possible he could muster towards the messy-haired teen. "Mr. Potter, I need to be certain that your mental defenses are sound before I am able to share anything with you."
Harry shook his head and laughed as he reached down and picked Dobby's trout up by its tail. He started waving it, as if readying himself for a real-life fish slap.
"Why don't you make another run at me, then?" he asked cheekily.
"Harry, you must trust me."
"I could say the same for you, Sir."
Dumbledore closed his eyes and shook his head in disappointment.
"Then we are at an impasse. Perhaps when you decide to act like a responsible young man…"
Harry let out a deep breath as he handed the fish back to Dobby (who hadn't shifted his bulbous eyes away from the Headmaster since his return from the Infirmary). "Right, if that's all, then Headmaster?"
"Just a moment, Mr. Potter…there is still the matter of Dobby's assistance with your transportation."
Harry reached out and placed his hand on Dobby's shoulder. "Ah, yes…it's wonderful, isn't it? I would have surely bled out and died this morning if he hadn't been there for me…wouldn't you agree?"
"Dobby always be watching out for The Great Harry Potter, Sir, just as The Great Harry Potter, Sir, was watching out for me when Bad Master was here finding outs about his Bad Master's book!"
Dumbledore nodded. "Yes, it is good to have such a vigilant and useful friend," he stated. "Still, there are concerns over the improprieties linked to those instances in which he carried you not to the Infirmary, but to another person's bed."
Harry looked down at the floor as he considered possible responses to the Headmaster's expressed concerns. He reached a decision then lifted his gaze until it focused on Dumbledore's chin.
"Would you like me to swear on my life and magic that aside from my own, the only bed that I'm aware of Dobby bringing me to was located in Madame Pomfrey's quarters?"
Dumbledore's eyes widened.
"May I be assured that your only visit to the Matron's bed happened this morning, Mr. Potter?"
Harry pursed his lips. "It's the only visit that I'm aware of, and that's only from what I was told. I was apparently unconscious at the time of transport."
Dobby nodded. "Dobby be making sure that The Great Harry Potter, Sir's Poppy be knowing about The Great Harry Potter Sir's injuries."
Dumbledore nodded. "And what about visits by young ladies to your bed, Mr. Potter?"
"Erm…what about them?"
"I simply can not allow it."
"Is that a schoolwide concern, Sir, or are you just interested in my personal life?"
"It is not just myself, Young Man. I strongly suspect that Professors McGonagall and Sprout are lined up for the opportunity to express their concerns as well."
Harry sighed. "Fine…I promise to never knowingly share my bed with another person, unless I have the consent of my Head of House."
Dumbledore pursed his lips. "Knowingly, Harry?"
The-Boy-Who-Lived shrugged. "Hey, what am I supposed to do if someone crawls through my bed curtains while I'm asleep?"
"Does this happen frequently, Young Man?"
Harry grinned. "No, but given the apparent size of my fan club, and how strident a few of its members are getting…"
"Very well, then," said Dumbledore. "Now, are you prepared to promise the same when it comes to crawling through your girlfriend's bedcurtains?"
Harry snorted. "How would you expect me to get past the sliding stairs leading up to the girls' dormitories?"
Dumbledore gave Dobby a pointed glance.
"Aside from any assistance provided by your friend here, I will note that there are no sliding stairs within Hufflepuff House."
"Geez, are we going to be at this all day, then?"
"If that's what it takes for me to allay your Head of House's concerns…"
"Okay, fine. How about this, then…."
A few minutes later…
"Well, ladies, I have some good news and some bad news," said Harry, as he stripped off his clothes and slipped into the spa-na's hot tub. "What do you want to hear first?"
"The good news, of course," said Hermione.
"Mr. Harry Potter, Sir?" Dobby asked.
The messy-haired teen looked up at the house elf standing on the side of the hot tub.
"Want to join us, Dobby?"
"Dobby doesn't swim, Mr. Harry Potter, Sir."
"Hmm…well, then…Luna, can you ask the Room to help out here?"
"Harry, how did you know that she was in charge?" Susan asked.
The teen-aged wizard looked out the spa-na's large windows and took in the winter landscape.
"Lucky guess?" he asked.
Luna closed her eyes for a moment. A moment later, a pair of inflatable water wings appeared high up on Dobby's arms.
"Thank you!" Harry called out, as Dobby jumped into the water feet first.
The house elf's light weight and short legs allowed him to float freely on the gurgling, churning water.
"Whee!" the house elf shouted.
"Okay, then," said Harry, now that all of his closest friends were in the tub with him. "The good news is that I goaded Dumbledore into making a run at my Occlumency barriers."
"That's good news?" asked Lisa.
"It was when Dobby and I were able to kick the old goat's arse!"
Dobby looked over at Harry with concern. "Dobby be thinking that Dobby be slapping heads with fishes, not kicking arses with feets, Harry Potter, Sir."
Daphne laughed. "We'll want to hear all the details…but what's the bad news?"
Harry nodded solemnly, as he sipped some champagne from Hermione's glass. "Right…the bad news…well, the bad news is that I had to promise the Headmaster that I will no longer share my bed with my girlfriends, and won't be visiting their beds either."
"Really?" Hermione gasped.
"How could you?" asked Daphne.
Harry shrugged. "Didn't have much of a choice, after this morning."
"So no more late-night spooning with your girlfriend?" Susan asked.
"Or friendzzzzzzzz…." Hermione teased.
Harry gave the two witches a funny look.
"Well, if you all have gotten tired of spooning with me…"
"Now who said anything like that?" Hermione asked.
"Okay, okay, I just didn't want to assume anything," Harry said with a grin. "Don't worry, Dobby came up with an excellent plan."
The house elf shook his head with tremendous vigor.
"Dobby be executining the Great Harry Potter, Sir's Great Plan!"
Lisa snorted. "So what's this plan, then? Invite your girlfriends to share a hammock?"
"Futons, then?" Hermione asked.
"Sleeping on the castle's cold stone floors?" asked Harry.
"My yawna is nice and warm," Luna promised.
Harry chuckled. "I'm sure that it is, Luna."
"Oh, I've got it!" said Daphne. "You said that you promised not to share a bed with your girlfriends?
"Then all you need to do is make sure it's not a girlfriend that you're sleeping with."
"I'm not so sure I like that idea," said Hermione.
"No, no you don't understand," the Slytherin stated. "When is your girlfriend not a girlfriend?"
"When you're her cover boyfriend?" Lisa quipped.
Susan shook her head. "Maybe…but she's also not your girlfriend once she becomes your fiancee."
There was a moment of silence as five pairs of eyes darted towards Harry.
Daphne sighed. "Too bad that I don't see any signed contracts."
"And he's not exactly on bended knee," added Lisa.
"Is that a ring box that keeps poking me in the ribs…or are you just happy to see me?" Hermione quipped.
Harry let out a deep breath and risked a small smile.
"Ladies…what kind of guy would I be if the only reason for me to propose marriage is the strong desire to get into my girlfriend's bed?"
"A regular kind of guy?" Susan asked.
"Oh, ye of little faith."
"Might explain her sexual preferences, though," Daphne noted.
Susan started to giggle. "So what did you do to get around your promises?"
"I didn't do anything," Harry said brightly. "Now, Dobby, on the other hand…"
"The Great Harry Potter, Sir, now be sharing his bed with his bestest male friend Neville Longbottomer!" Dobby shouted.
"Really?" Lisa asked. "Now isn't that interesting?"
Harry snorted. "What my amazing friend meant to say is that he helped me loan my bed out to Neville."
"So Neville is going to be sleeping in your bed now?" asked Susan.
"So where are you going to sleep?"
"Oh, I'll be sleeping in Neville's bed."
"He swapped them!" Hermione realized. "Harry's promises won't keep him from sharing Neville's bed with his girlfriends…that's brilliant!"
The Muggleborn witch showed just how brilliant she thought it was by pulling first Harry, and then Dobby, into crushing bare-chested hugs.
Daphne pouted. "Well that's all well and good, but what if we wanted to share our beds?"
Luna smiled as she reached under the water and squeezed the Slytherin's thigh.
"I didn't make any promises, Daphne."
The other blonde-haired witch waggled her eyebrows. "No you didn't, did you?"
"Dobby be tricking the naughty Headmaster with lots of tricky bed swapping!" the House Elf declared. "Miss Daphne's bed be swapped with the Bulstrode's!"
"Why didn't you swap my bed out for my friend's Tracy's bed?"
Dobby replied. "Dobby be thinking that Harry Potter, Sir's Ox-zoo-ery be needing bed swaps as well."
"Ox-zoo-ery?" Harry asked.
"He means the Harem Auxiliary," Hermione explained with an eye roll.
Dobby nodded. "Harry Potter, Sir's Tracy be bed swapping with nasty Pansy, and Dobby be swapping both Suzy Secondus's and her roommate's beds with beds from across the hall."
"Oooh," Daphne winced. "Don't know if I want to force Tracey to sleep on that slag's mattress."
"No worries, Harry Potter, Sir's Fourthus…Dobby just be swapping out the beds, and be keeping the same mattresses."
"Good idea," said Harry. He smiled, pulled Dobby in so that he could wrap his arm around the little guy's shoulders, and asked, "So did we do good, or what?"
Hermione leaned out and planted a tender kiss on both Harry's and Dobby's cheeks.
"You both did brilliantly!" she declared.
Daphne shrugged. "Oh, I don't know…I still say that making us all your fiancées was a pretty good plan."
"Do we have to rush that sort of decision?" Harry asked. "I mean, not that I wouldn't want to…erm….some day…with Hermione's help making decisions and all…"
Hermione shook her head and planted a second kiss on her boyfriend's lips. "You're so cute when you're flustered."
"He makes a good point, though," Lisa noted. "We've got solid alibis set up now, and we've neutralized both Umbridge and Snape, and Harry and Dobby gave the Headmaster a whopping headache after activating The Python Defense, and it's the weekend…"
Daphne giggled. "Sounds like we should test out just how effective the bed swap is as a work-around."
"Have a particular bed in mind?" Hermione asked.
Harry let out a content sigh as he relaxed in the soothing waters. "Why do we have to leave this place?" he asked. "So long as Dobby can pop in food from the kitchens…"
"Oh, there might be a few items needed for an overnight stay," said Hermione.
"Well clothing certainly doesn't need to be on that list," Susan quipped.
"I'd want my toothbrush," said Hermione.
Dobby shouted, "Dobby be taking care of what all of Harry Potter's Missusses be needing!"
He popped away.
Susan giggled. "Guess Dobby thinks that you don't need anything from outside the Room, Harry."
"Nope," the teen-ager replied, placing an arm around his girlfriend's shoulders. "I've got everything that I need right here!"
"Fluff-alert!" Daphne shouted.
The rest of the witches laughed, until Dobby popped back with his arms filled with a wide variety of personal toiletries and adult toys.
"Dobby be getting some lunchy foods to Luna's spoona!" he stated, before popping away again.
Harry glaced towards the pile of stuff that Dobby had left behind and began to snicker.
"I think we'll have to cancel that Fluff-alert," he snarked. "Unless somebody needs that riding crop for a pony ride?"
"Okay, so I recognize Lisa's strap-on…who owns those Muggle handcuffs?" Hermione asked.
Susan laughed, and asked, "Hey, Luna…think the Hottubtonttu will punish us if we use some of this stuff to punish ourselves?"
The Ravenclaw shrugged. "I don't know…but I'd be willing to help find out!"
The laugh that escaped from Harry's lips morphed into a loud yawn.
"Ah…sorry, guys, but you might have to experiment without me. I'm knackered."
"That's okay Harry…we've got the rest of the weekend," Hermione replied.
"How about a group spooning?" asked Susan. "We can see how many of us can fit into Neville's bed?"
Harry winced. "That sounds good, even when it sounds so wrong…Luna, if you're in charge of the Room, how about someplace for a comfy nap?"
"Oh, she might already have that covered," said Susan. She then asked, "Hey, Daphne…how big is Luna's yawna?"
Daphne beat down a saucy comment about finger counts, and chose instead to pull the Ravenclaw into a hug.
"I think that what Luna needed most today is what all of us really needed. So if her yawna is a tight fit, well, then…what's a little intimate contact between friends and their benefits, right?"
Everyone was quick to agree with this sentiment, and almost as quick to hop out of the tub. Everybody had help toweling off, and as they headed out the door towards the yawna, each of them stopped to pick out one or two items from Dobby's pile of overnight needs.
The stasis charms that Dobby placed on the food he left inside the spoona came in handy as the group tested the open-mindedness of the yawna's elves after waking from a very nice nap.
The pervy hottubtonttu's loss became the equally voyeuristic yawnatonttu's gain.
A/N: Some real-life Muggle Finns really believe that saunatonttu exist (tonttu = "elf" in Finnish)