A Very Harem Christmas
A bit of holiday crack-fiction from canoncansodoff
A/N: Blame the muse. This started life as a rough epilogue to "The Python Defense," which itself sprung to life as a runaway bunny from "Coven of Prefects." I suppose I could try to resist, but she's being rather Borg-ish, and given the Season, it does make more sense to give in now, rather than delay the inevitable and post this sometime in February.
Folks looking for a harem ending to "The Python Defense" should find something here to like (even if it is more T-rated fluffy then M-rated smutty).
Disclaimer: Not my characters, no money being made, etc. etc.
Chapter 1: Potter Manor
Eighteen Years Later, On the First Day of Christmas...
A diminutive visitor to New Azkaban Prison interrupted Severus Snape's latest effort to mentally reorganize the potion ingredients within his former Hogwarts office.
"Merry Christmas, Mr. Nasty-Smelling Bat-Man!"
The prisoner was too shocked for words, and far too broken by his incarceration to even attempt a sneer. If fact, it took all of his diminished faculties just to visually process what had arrived in the miserably small jail cell (whose dimensions exactly matched those of the smallest bedroom within the house on Number Four, Privet Drive).
Lucius Malfoy's former House-Elf stood before him, dressed in a bright red tunic that bore the Potter family crest. The wide-eyed creature held out a small crystal ball that appeared to encircle a small house.
"The Great Lord Harry Potter, Sir and his Missuses be giving Mr. Nasty-Smelling Bat-Man a present! Even though Dobby be thinking Mr. Bat-Man still deserving to be chewing on lumps of coal."
Snape didn't know what to think. But the reptilian portion of his brain…the brain stem that unconsciously and automatically makes "fight or flight" decisions…it knew better then to automatically accept a gift from The-Boy-Who-Put-Him-In-Azkaban.
The House-Elf had apparently anticipated this reaction, and placed the ball on top of the thin soiled blanket that served as the Prisoner's bedding.
"Dobby be bringing a new present to Mr. Nasty Smelling Bat-Man tomorrow!" he announced, just before he noiselessly popped away.
The Prisoner leaned back against the cell wall that was farthest away from the ball, and tried to make sense of what had just happened. But there was something that kept interrupting his thoughts…something magical, no doubt…that was compelling him to pick up the object.
It didn't take long at all for the former Potions Master to succumb to the compulsion charm that had been placed on the globe. Snape feared what would happen as soon as he touched the ball even as his hand inexorably reached out to grasp it. Was it a Portkey that would hurl him into a hell worse than the one he was already in? Or some sort of hexed product created by those cursed Weasley Twins…or worse, by the two surviving Marauders?
Snape couldn't decide if it were good news or bad that there wasn't an immediate response when his fingers first touched the globe. Taking a deep breath, he took hold of the object and brought it up to his eyes for a closer inspection.
The four-inch diameter ball was hollow, and filled with some kind of liquid. Sitting at the base of the ball was a miniaturized Estate House, four stories high, and with enough windows to let fresh air into a hundred different rooms. That part of the globe's interior base not covered by the house's footprint was covered with small flecks of white…similar to the flecks of white that sat on the house's roof.
"What in Merlin's name?" Snape asked himself.
An answer came from an unexpected location…a place deep within his memories.
…a pre-Hogwarts Lilly Evans is dressed in warm clothing as she plays on a playground that is covered with a thin layer of snow. Her sister Petunia calls her home, but before she leaves, she pulls a small globe from her coat pocket and hands it to him.
"Happy Christmas," Lilly says shyly.
"What is it?" the boy asks.
"It's a snow globe, silly," Lilly replies. "You shake it up and it snows!"…
The Prisoner snorted in recognition. He had no doubts that Potter had specifically chosen this type of "gift" to inflict maximum mental anguish (he was wrong, but Snape always did have a bad habit of assuming that Harry Potter's world had always centered around his hatred for his Potions Professor).
Bowing to the inevitable, Snape gave the ball a shake that hurled the little flakes of white up into a mock snowstorm…and hurled Snape into the scene.
The Prisoner's reality shifted as he was drawn into the globe.
Snape flew through the air, and was approaching a life-sized version of the Estate from a distance. It wasn't like a pensieve memory…instead of an avatar, had a moving perspective.
It was almost like he was watching a muggle movie, except that he could feel the snowflakes hit his face…and smell the wood smoke from a distant chimney. Given the scene, he should have been cold, and the snow should have been blinding. But Snape only felt warmth and comfort…truly alien sensations, given his long-term incarceration within New Azkaban.
Snape's perspective "flew" down towards the grounds of the Estate, passing over an ornate wrought-iron gate that bore the same Potter crest that had adorned the House-Elf's tunic. There were only a scant few seconds for him to ponder the implications of this crest before the front doors of the house drew open and he "flew" inside.
Having been a frequent guest at Malfoy Manor, Snape was no stranger to the opulence that was revealed inside. But there was a difference in this display of wealth. There were glimpses of ornate chandeliers and grand staircases…but the ornate wooden frames that hung on the walls bordered finger paintings more often than fine art, and children's toys were scattered over the marble flooring and Oriental rugs.
The perspective "flew" down a main hallway, then turned a corner and caught a female House-Elf by surprise. The tunic-wearing servant stared at Snape, cried out "Eep!" and popped away.
A disembodied male voice chuckled as Snape's perspective continued down this side corridor. A second set of gilded double doors opened at the end of this corridor, and Snape's perspective "flew" into a ballroom that was even bigger than Malfoy's. Four huge fir trees anchored the corners of this room, each lit with the glow of thousands of faeries. And arranged in front of one of these decorated trees…was a gathering. A rather large gathering of children and adults…of humans, and house-elves.
A little girl that was sitting in front of this group looked towards Snape, then suddenly leapt up and shouted "Daddy!"
Snape, of course, found this reaction rather disconcerting.
The well-dressed adults and the older children responded with a combination of shushing and snickering, as they guided the little girl back to her place within what was clearly a staged setting.
More disembodied male laughter was heard as Snape's perspective glided up towards a tripod stand that sat in front of the assembly. The view, now focused on the top of this stand, was jarred, and shook until a female voice called out, "Cover the lens first, or you'll make the viewers sick!"
The view went to black, as a very familiar voice called out, "Yes, Dear."
The fixed perspective that appeared a few seconds later once again showed the full gathering...plus one. A snow-covered broom-riding wizard entered the scene from over the perspective's right "shoulder." The adult male flew those in front, and then deftly somersaulted off the broom and into a empty place in the middle of the back row. The wizard then spun on his heels, wrapped his arms around the witches on either side, and smiled directly at Severus Snape.
"On behalf of Clan Potter," Harry Potter called out, "I'd like to wish all of you and yours a..."
Laughter and clapping sounded out after everyone in the gathering helped their Clan Chief finish his sentence. The perspective then faded to black, and Snape was hurled back out into his jail cell.
The Prisoner looked down at the stilled globe and let out a string of invectives far too coarse to repeat in pleasant company. He then hurled the object against the door of his cell…and ducked, when the magically protected sphere bounced back with equal and opposite force.
The snow was still flying inside the globe when Snape picked it up off of the floor to inspect it for damage. And since the magic that was linked to the swirling white flakes couldn't distinguish between somebody shaking the globe and somebody hurling it against the wall, Snape was once again sucked into the scene.
And once more received Holiday Greetings from Clan Potter.
It was even more disturbing to Snape the second time through.
But the tangible warmth that came along with this second viewing? That wasn't something to scorn. It was, rather, something to embrace…particularly when Snape's reality was cold, dark, and damp.
So embrace it he did…a dozen more times through the bitter December night.
There was no way to avoid the visuals that came with the warmth…Snape couldn't close his eyes, or turn his back as the "greeting globe" played from start to finish. Not that he tried all that hard, mind you. While it wasn't, from his perspective, a very pretty picture, it did offer contrast to the four bare walls that he'd stared at year after year.
Morbid curiosity drove Snape to take in every detail that the object provided. Every face, every bit of furnishing…anything that could be used to piece together a picture of what Harry Potter's life had been like over the past eighteen years.
And what kind of life was it?
By Snape's count, the "Clan Potter" that had wished him well consisted of nine adults, twenty-one children, and a dozen House-Elves (of various ages and genders). And the nine adults? Harry Potter and eight witches.
It had been years since Snape had seen any of them, not that their faces had changed all that much, given the advantages of magic-extended lifetimes. And so he could name them all…
The insufferable know-it-all, the entire Gryffindor Chaser line from the team that had won the House Cup, the bottle-cap necklace-wearing airhead from Ravenclaw, the big-boobed Hufflepuff and her lesbian lover from Ravenclaw, and…
Inexplicably, one of his own.
Severus Snape had spent most of that frigid night wondering what Daphne Greengrass had been doing by Potter's side. She certainly welcomed his arrival…during the sixth viewing Snape caught sight of the Slytherin's hand dropping down to give Potter's bum a squeeze. But was this some sort of beguilement…an Imperious, perhaps? Was she part of the apparent mongrel harem…the mother any of the children that played at their feet? Or was she playing some cunning game of ambition, worthy of her House?
The possibilities were tantalizing…enough to make Snape hope that Potter's House-Elf really would return that day bearing an informative second "gift".