Very Harem Christmas
A bit of holiday Harry Potter crack-fiction from canoncansodoff
Disclaimer: Not my characters, no money being made, etc. etc.
Chapter 3: Terra Nova
Eighteen Years Later, on the Third Day of Christmas…
On the Third Day of Christmas, Dobby popped into the Prisoner's cell with a snow globe wrapped in dark green fabric. His big eyes narrowed when he gave Snape a cursory inspection.
"Berry-smelling Bat-Man be wearing his robes wrong," he stated, pointing towards the garment that hung from Snape's bony shoulders inside out. "Dobby be thinking Berry-smelling Bat-Man Be Wanting to be Nakeds."
The Prisoner's eyes went wide with a look of fear that, while common during his incarceration, would have never been revealed at Hogwarts.
"No, please…don't take then," he stammered, thinking quickly to avoid Dobby's finger wiggles. "It's just that the flashing heart…it was keeping me from sleeping last night."
The House-Elf frowned. "Dobby be thinking that the Berry-Smelling Bat Man not be sleeping right now."
"What?" asked Snape. "Erm..oh…right, good catch," he added, as he quickly shucked the crimson garment over his head and flipped it right-side out so that the slogan was displayed.
Dobby pursed his lips. "Dobby still be thinking that Berry-smelling Bat-Man be fibbing…the heart be covered if blanket be being used."
"Well, yes…except…well, I haven't had a pillow for some time, and when I folded it up and placed it under my head..."
The next words were hard for Snape to spit out, even if they embodied Slytherin cunning.
"I never did thank you, by the way…and thank…your owner…for his…generosity."
His guest stared up at the emaciated wizard for a few moments, and then glanced towards the blanket, which lie on the ground unfolded, and upside down.
"Dobby be fixing things for Berry-smelling Bat-Man, then. The Great Lord Harry Potter, Sir be saying it be Christmas Season."
Finger wiggling produced a modest-sized pillow dressed in crimson cotton twill. A second wave of Dobby's fingers lengthened the blanket to better-fit Snape's frame, and flipped it over so that the declaration of devotion to Clan Potter was prominently displayed.
"Erm…thank you, Dobby," the Prisoner stammered.
"Berry-smelling Bat-Man be welcome," Dobby replied. He then passed the fabric covered orb over to the Prisoner, and added, "Berry-smelling Bat-Man be thanking Missus Daphne for the knickers. They be saying that Berry-smelling Bat-Man always be a Snake underneath whatever robes he be wearing."
Snape arched an eyebrow as he partially unwrapped the orb, and then set it gently it onto the floor so as not to activate it. He shook his head and snorted when he then inspected the boxer shorts. They were decorated with an animated golden snitch that fluttered not over the fly (like all of Harry's), but over the bum.
It was another bit of designed humiliation, but at least it was covered up by his "I (heart) Gryffindor!" robes.
The Prisoner didn't catch the last bit of finger wiggling that Dobby performed behind his back, and didn't notice the results until the House-Elf popped out with a promise to return the next day.
It was a chair and table.
Snape took a few minutes to inspect Dobby's parting gifts, and luxuriated in the feeling of sitting on something other than floor or pot. There was a muggle ball-point pen and a piece of plain white paper on the table's surface, but no instructions or comments on why they were provided.
Deciding that he might find those instructions within the snow globe, and desiring to regain some of the warmth that was no longer provided by the other two, Snape reached for the newest orb. Inside this liquid-filled globe was a second, smaller globe that appeared to be suspended within the nighttime sky.
It took a few moments for the Prisoner to recognize this second globe for what it was…Earth, as it might be seen from the heavens. It was a cloudless projection of the Earth's surface, with the British Isles centered over where the North Pole should have been. Snape had come across this type of picture before…the muggles claimed to have traveled to the moon and back taking pictures like this along the way. Except…those pictures never came with bright yellow lines that split the continents up into bite-sized countries, did they?
Angry over the fact that Potter had once again piqued his curiosity, Snape shook the globe rather violently, and kicked the little white flakes up into a celestial snowstorm.
The magic embedded within the globe pulled Snape into the scene.
Unlike the first two globes, the snow immediately cleared, giving him a clear view of the Earth as if he were a muggle astronaut (save for those yellow-lined national boundaries). He hovered high about Britain for a few seconds, and then began to fall.
The starry black sky which had framed this perspective disappeared as the Earth's surface grew nearer at a frighteningly fast rate. Snape idly wondered how in Merlin's name Potter had gotten a broomstick this far up off the ground, until the appearance of text labels that identified specific countries, oceans and seas got him off point.
Soon after the countries were identified, city names began to appear next to dots that served as hubs and nodes for the intersecting lines that depicted the network of muggle roads that crossed the country (not that Snape initially recognized these as such). This descent, originally centered over Snape's boyhood hometown of Leeds, began to glide northeasterly just as individual motorways were labeled. Secondary roads appeared as the perspective passed over Sunderland and Newcastle Upon Tyne and then headed out over the North Sea.
With no cities and roads to label once out to sea, Snape's perspective was filled with a monotonous blue for a few seconds time. Then, a small, unidentified brown dot appeared, and gradually grew in size until it became recognizable as an island…a small rocky island, almost entirely covered by a high-walled fortification. Once the perspective's descent had attained an altitude of a few hundred meters above sea level, its travel path level out, so that the island was viewed from a more horizontal approach.
It was a perspective and an approach that Snape immediately recognized, though he had experienced it only one time before. Not that anyone should have been surprised, really…even after nearly two decades of incarceration, a prisoner will always remember what he or she saw along the pathway that ended in their prison cell.
The perspective's flight path ended at a point roughly one hundred meters above the grounds of New Azkaban. The image was fuzzy for a few moments…as if Snape were looking at the scene through the bottom of a glass tankard. But then the image gradually resolved, and provided him with a bird's eye view of the prison grounds.
Any guesses Snape had made about what would happen next were blown out of the water when his perspective began to pull back, rather than drop to ground surface. The view of New Azkaban stayed the same as Snape's perspective drew away, and a black picture frame appeared in the margins where the blue North Sea should have been.
And then the perspective drew farther back, revealing a wood-paneled wall upon which the framed image hung.
"Figured it out yet, Snape?" asked a familiar disembodied voice. "What's that? I can't quite hear you…was that a 'yes' or a 'no'?"
The fact that Snape's perspective "nodded" vertically when the voice said "Yes," and shook horizontally on the word "No" helped Snape make some sense of what he was seeing, but not as much as when a finger appeared on the top margin of his viewpoint.
"That's right…it's time for some home movies," the voice announced. "Starring someone who is no doubt your favorite actor in the world…"
There was a pause in the narrative as the perspective swung around quick enough to induce vertigo. It stopped upon the smiling face of a black-haired adult male with a lightening-shaped scar on his forehead.
"Me!" a thirtysomething-old Harry said brightly. "Right then…enough with the fancy movie production, let's get you situated."
The perspective centered on a tripod similar to the one shown in the first globe, set up in front of a large oak desk. The viewpoint then shook and twisted about, inducing more nausea within the viewer.
"Oops, I'm sorry…don't have Hermione here to remind me to cover the lens while I set it up," said the voice. "Although…since this is a command performance for a targeted audience, I'm not at all sorry."
The viewpoint which had begun to settle down then rose, and began to twist and turn violently.
"Hey look, it's the roller-coaster ride at New Azkaban's Amusement Park!" announced Harry, as he sent the perspective on a jarring, stomach-turning "ride" around his office.
"So let's make this ride an educational experience," Harry added with glee. "First descent is always the biggest…and here we have a view of my office floor…and then up to the ceiling…hard bank left…there's my window…nice view of the Thames and South Bank, isn't it?…and down we go again….hard right, and up, then over the silly robes that I have to wear when the House of Lords is in session…turning once more we have a side wall with lots of pictures of the wives and kids, and a few awards they force me to hang….that's the King and me, by the way…once more up and down…throw in a few corkscrews….and then….full stop!"
Harry laughed "off-camera" as the perspective froze to show his desk and chair, as well as the large black-framed image display that was attached to the wall behind the desk. That display still showed the grounds of New Azkaban.
"Well that was tiring…think I need a drink," Harry announced. "Go ahead and get some water, or get past the dry heaves, or whatever else you need to do."
A few moments later, Harry appeared in front of Snape holding a cut crystal tumbler filled with dark amber fluid.
"Cheers, you pervy bastard!" Harry said, as he held the glass out towards Snape, and then downed half its contents. "And thanks for dropping in," he then added with a thin smile. "Not that I harbor any hopes that you're here more for my company then for the warmth that is provided whenever you activated the globe."
Harry took another sip from his glass, and noted, "And not that I fancy spending any time with you, either…even when it's through indirect means such as this."
There was a pause as Harry finished off what had, just a few seconds previous, been two thick finger's worth of single malt whiskey. As he looked into the bottom the glass, he mused, "Eighteen year old Talisker…not just smoother than smooth, but somewhat appropriate, since it's been eighteen years since we last saw each other…"
Harry set the glass down onto his desk and nodded to himself. "Right, so I've dawdled enough…did you ever read Dickens, Sev? Heard about Ebenezer Scrooge? I feel like I'm your Ghost of Christmas Present right now…except he didn't tell Scrooge what it was like that Christmas Eve, he showed him…Daphne thinks we'll have that figured out in time for next year's Holiday shopping, by the way…"
Reaching back onto his credenza, Harry grabbed a crystal snow globe identical to the one provided Snape on the First Day of Christmas.
"Recognize this, Sev?" he asked. "I hope so…whether or not you still had any higher brain function was one of the issues we've had to consider…but I digress. Griffon Technologies invented these babies…both the muggle and magical versions. A poor man's pensieve, if you will…over the past five years we've cleared tens of millions in profit on them. They're dead useful around the holidays…people use them as animated greeting cards...this globe is the uncharmed blank that we'll fill with images once the kids are home from Hogwarts and Eton. Then we'll copy it a few thousand times and send it to all of friends and family…any you, of course."
Harry reached off-camera and pulled back a decanter of whiskey that he used to refill his glass.
"But I've probably confused you enough, haven't I?" he then asked. "I'm recording this in advance…it's December 18 for me, probably the 27th for you. A charmed video lens…another one of our inventions, by the way…the lens that I had in my hands and have now propped in front of me? It records images that can be viewed later…again, it's a bit like a pensieve, except you can only see what somebody would see if the lens were placed in front of their eye."
Harry glanced down at the snow globe that sat on his desk. "You can use a video lens to record more then greeting cards and pretend roller-coaster rides about the office, of course…you just transfer the images to a storage device."
The Boy-Who-Prevailed looked away from Snape's perspective, thought for a few moments, and smiled. "Erm…sorry. I was just thinking about that naughty globe that Daphne gave me this summer as a birthday present…we don't market these for people's more…prurient..interests, but…well we all can't have the ability to prey on unsuspecting people's thoughts and wank as you steal their pervy dreams and memories, can we, Severus?"
He laughed. "Although, showing you that memory would definitely spice up what is going to otherwise be a rather dry bit of expository."
"But you've stolen enough of those randy thoughts from me and mine, so dry expository it is," Harry continued. "You need to know why I can't just leave you to rot, and leave what you did to me and my family behind. And that is where I would have left it, had I the choice…these balls and Dobby's visits aren't petty vindictiveness designed to torture you with the knowledge that you failed in your quest to make my own life miserable. Or to end it early…or both." A small smile grew on Harry's face. "Although I'd be lying if I didn't say that there is some pleasure in rubbing my happy life in your face."
Harry sighed. "Running out more of the clock…these globes can only hold so much, and here I am…if any of my wives were here they'd be urging me to cut to the quick, or read from a script. So let's get right to the heart of the matter, shall we?"
The-Boy-Who-Run spun around in his chair, and pointed towards the framed image behind his desk.
"What you saw at the start of this glob is the result of 100% muggle technology, Sev," Harry explained. "This is a muggle computer display…all I did was hold the video lens in front of the screen as the projection played out…here, I can replay it, if you don't believe me."
Harry pressed a button at the bottom of his touch-display and the image shifted back to Earth in space. As the fly-down played through a second time, Harry added commentary.
"Muggles have had cameras up in space mounted on satellites for more then sixty years," he explained. "There weren't many cameras over the first forty years, and they were controlled by the muggle governments…used them to spy on their enemies."
Harry took a sip from his glass, and then continued.
"But over the last few years…lots more cameras, owned by private companies instead of governments. They've used these cameras to obtain photographic images of the Earth's surface, and combined them with computer software to create the kind of fly-downs that we're seeing right now."
"So why should you care?" Harry asked. "Well, it does cost money to take these pictures from space, and the companies that were doing it understandably focused on areas that people would pay to see…use them to create maps of countries, or to see what your little bit of garden looks like from space. But over the past few years…over the past few years the quality of the photographs have improved, and the coverage has expanded. So now, every square meter of the Earth's surface can be viewed by any muggle in the world, so long as they sit in front of this type of display."
The narrative ended just as the "fly-down" ended with the images of goblin guards walking across the New Azkaban prison grounds.
Harry pointed towards the screen and said, "I am sure that you can appreciate how this affects the wizarding world's secrecy statutes, even if your brain has been addled by inactivity."
"These aren't real-time images," Harry commented. "but even the static pictures are telling, in that the electronic cameras don't give a rat's arse about notice-me-not charms or supposedly unplottable locations."
A touch of the display screen caused the image to shift to an overhead view of the Hogwarts Quidditch pitch. The stands were filled with frozen-in-time spectators who were cheering during a Hufflepuff versus Ravenclaw match.
"This image was helpful," Harry said. "Allowed us to pin down exactly when the pictures were taken. That's a match from last spring…a muggle can change the perspective from horizontal to vertical…rotate it around…the software is really amazing."
As Harry adjusted the display's perspective, he proudly pointed out, "That's my son Geoffrey…Sixth Year 'Puff Seeker. He caught the snitch about fifteen minutes after this point, but not before my daughter Selene…she's right there….she helped run up the 'Claw lead as one of their Chasers."
Harry sat back and smiled. "One of the joys of having so many kids in Hogwarts at the same time is that there's never a shortage of teams to route for…don't know what I'll do next year, though. If things work out like we expect, the first baby snake in the family will join the Slytherin team as their seeker and we'll have players from every House!"
"And there I go off-script again," Harry said with a chuckle. "The thing that has helped keep our world secret from these satellite cameras has been the fact that each of these software packages rely upon a collage of still images that are collected at defined points of time. In other words, if I got onto the computer and tried to zoom down to spy into my office, I wouldn't see the office as it looks today, but, rather, how the office looked on the day that the satellite flew overhead. And this has allowed the technomages from North America to hack into these databases, and erase out all of the images of Quidditch games, and dragons, and wizarding world prisons."
Harry looked at the bottom of his empty tumbler, and then towards the bottle of whiskey. Deciding against another refill, he sat the glass on his desk. "But the muggles are never really satisfied with what they can do now....they're always working on improving, and dreaming of what they might do in the future. And what they've done is send up into space a whole new flock of satellites that will be able to provide these kinds of images in real time...not how things looked six months ago, but how things look today. And even if we go in and change those pictures to erase out Hogwarts, there will be a fresh set tomorrow!"
A sigh escaped from Harry's lips, and he shook his head. "The technomages are working night and day to come up with reliable countermeasures, but it's getting harder and harder...and the goblins have decided that it will be too hard to keep up with the muggles all too soon. So they've decided to go to ground...literally. They're moving all of their Gringott's branches out of magical areas and into muggle-style banks staffed by muggleborn witches and wizards. All of their colonies are being rebuilt underground, and they've served notice that the contract to provide guards for New Azkabhan won't be renewed."
"So that's where you're affected, Sev," Harry said with a grim smile. "Between the goblins leaving the island, and these satellites taking pictures of what should be an uninhabited rock in the middle of the North Sea, we've decided to close your prison, and move you and the other inmates into...alternative...accommodations."
Harry then leaned forward, and got rather close to the recording lens.
"There has been a lot of cooperation between Britain's magical and muggle governments over the past decade, Snape. The era of separation is soon ever, and a lot of good people on both sides are working very hard to make the transition into the new era as smooth and safe as possible." Glancing towards his robes and wig, he added, "I'm in charge of integrating the courts and correctional system, and that has landed Azkaban and your arse into my portfolio."
"We've identified two different muggle jails that will be modified to accept magical inmates," Harry noted. "Biggest problem there is the development of anti-apparition wards that don't bugger up the electronics in their security and surveillance systems. But once that's done....well very few witches or wizards can do wandless magic besides apparition, can they? They'll be just like the muggle prisoners...except physically weaker, of course..."
Harry shook his head. "But you Severus...you're the exception, aren't you? Your ability to do passive legilimency? We haven't come up with a foolproof way to block that. Occlumency, of course, but not every witch or wizard can do that, and the muggles not at all...wouldn't do to have you reading the muggle guards thoughts, would it?"
"So what do we do with you, Sev?" Harry asked. "There's been no shortage of suggestions from my wives, as you might imagine...I personally liked Hermione's idea of doing an aggressive lobotomy. But we're the civilized lot, I guess, so that's right out."
"Unless," Harry added with a wink, "You were to volunteer?"
Harry looked at his empty tumbler. "Oh, sod it...I will have another...not like I have to drive home." He quickly refilled his drink, swallowed down half, and let out a deep breath.
"The only way to keep you from reading other people's thoughts is to have you only around people that know how to block them. And since the highest concentration of trained occlumens in Britain outside of the Goblin Nation happen to live under my roof, and since a few of those people also think you might be redeemable, I've reluctantly gone along with the consensus proposal."
Harry chugged the drink down, and then frowned. "Severus Snape, you have a choice...accept transfer into either a goblin penal colony, or something potentially far more harsher...into my employment."
"That's right, Sev...you either become the Goblin's slave, or mine. If you choose the latter, you'll be assigned to work with either me or one of my wives in one of Clan Potter's business ventures, philanthropic foundations, or idle pastimes. Choose to go underground with the goblins, and...well I don't know what you'd be doing, but the goblins assured us that we'd needn't worry about paying more than a year's worth of boarding for you."
The frown on Harry's face grew as he finished his sales pitch.
"You've got two weeks to make your choice, during which time you'll be provided additional globes. Each globe will focus on one of my wives or myself...they'll give you an idea on what you might be doing, and some perspective on how the wizarding world has changed during your incarceration. Dobby should have left you the means to convey questions, comments, or your decision...once it has been made."
And with that final comment, the globe faded to black, and the prisoner was hurled back into his cell.
Snape's body shivered, as much from the loss of the globe's warmth than from the choice he'd just been given. He glanced back towards the muggle pen and single piece of paper that sat on the desktop. The page wasn't nearly large enough to hold all of the questions and comments that whirled within his head, no matter how small he wrote them out. But providing Potter with an uncensored mind-dump would not only be foolish, but undignified.
No, he would have to be very careful with his communication, and take some time to compose his thoughts. His eyes drifted back towards the latest globe, and he decided that he'd just as soon brood and mull things over within the confines of the warm crystal globe. He shook the crystal orb, and once again followed the path of the muggle astronauts.
A/N: So there's the set-up...well past the holiday season, but I've had a few readers ask about this bit of fluff. The ambitious task before me is to write at least 9 more chapters...one for each wife and another for Harry. That'd make it "twelve days of Christmas." At the rate that I'm updating, this story might be done just in time for the next holiday season....we'll see. By the way, the zoom-in's resemblance to Google Earth is entirely intentional...hard not to imagine that what I've described will be realized within the next couple of years (got further evidence of that fact when Google Maps "street viewed" my suburban neighborhood and popped it into the driving directions that I needed to find a hockey rink last week! Caught us with our garage door open, but at least the lawn was mowed.)