Elves Rule! Baby number two! Harry babysit's.
This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark or infringement is intended.
Okay, this is pure fluff, but I got a picture in my head, of a scene written halfway through the chapter and it wouldn't go away. Oh, and for Mrs. Alfred - do you see where I'm going with this? Thank you for your idea!
Lucius Malfoy stood on the outskirts of Hogsmeade, admiring the construction site which would shortly become his fourth internet cafÃ©/book shop/coffee shop. The Latte Library had found a niche in both the Muggle and Magic worlds, though for quite different reasons.
While many Muggles had internet access at home, it was not the case for Witches and Wizards. When someone from Wizarding society visited the shop, it was most likely to sit at a computer with a frothy coffee and browse to their hearts content. Muggles, however, usually arrived looking for a book. Jenny had the ingenious idea of an online catalogue to browse and order from, real time. When the order was entered, the response was always, 'In Stock, please wait for delivery at your table.'
While the Muggle customer waited for the book to be delivered to their table, they would sip a custom made latte and munch on biscotti, while they surfed the web or checked their e-mail.
In another part of the shop, unseen by the customers, elves would take the orders to a book warehouse in a remote area of Wales, where they would retrieve the volume and return to their shop. Muggles assumed there was a storage area in the cellar. The shop was never out of stock.
"What do you think, old chap?" asked Lucius.
"How many Muggles do you think you'll get out here?" asked Severus, in reply.
"There's a new motorway expansion under development. The nearest Muggle town is having an increase in population due to new housing being built. I think we'll have some interest."
Severus shrugged; his job was the warding in the final structure to keep Magic and Muggle separate.
"Who is managing this one?" asked Severus, as he watched the construction crew levitate and fasten the roof beams onto the upper story.
"Granger is transferring here," he replied. "I've made arrangements with Hogwarts and the school governors to allow the fifth years and up more latitude in coming to town. Every other weekend; for those who've behaved. Seventh year can come anytime, as they're not boarding anymore."
"Why Granger, is there something different about this location?" Severus asked, wondering what his old friend had up his sleeve, besides his extra wand.
"There's no putting one past you, is there," replied Lucius with a grin, "This shop will be geared towards the students. Granger was always a swot, she'll be ideal in setting up the right environment."
"I agree," said Snape, "I just hope she curbs her enthusiasm for study long enough to sell coffee."
Jenny sat at her desk at the shop in Braemar. Darrius was in the small nursery off her office, playing with a young elf assigned to be his minder. She heard her son giggle and coo, as the elf amused the little boy with magic.
Her head Elf barista suddenly appeared before her. "Excuse me, Madam, might Bicky have a word?"
"Hello, Bicky, is there a problem?" she asked, surprised at his appearance in her office.
The elf sighed, "Bicky hates to say there is a problem, Madam, but there is a problem."
"Did something happen downstairs in the cafÃ©?" she asked.
The elf waved his hands in negation before him, "Oh no, Madam, everything is wonderful downstairs...at least it is at this shop." He sighed again.
Jenny was becoming impatient, "Bicky, just tell me what it is?"
"You know that some of us elves are moving to the new shop in Hogsmeade; such an honour to train new staff," he began.
"Go on," she urged.
"It's Miss Granger; she wants to change our working conditions, OH! It's too much," he sobbed, grabbing the dish towel from his belt around his waist and dabbing his eyes.
Jenny was concerned; the contract with the elves had taken a lot of negotiation. "What kind of changes, Bicky,"
The elf sniffed before continuing, "Three galleons a month salary, two breaks and a lunch time everyday, twelve hour shifts and...and... one day a week off, every week. You see! It's horrible, horrible," he insisted, "What are we to do? How can elves work in those conditions?" He sobbed loudly into his towel.
Jenny smiled behind her hand. This was Hermione's work for sure. It was time to educate the young woman about dealing with the elves.
"Well, Bicky, I think you and the others, going to the new shop, should form a collective bargaining unit and organize," she told him, knowing he had no clue about what she meant.
"Organize?" he asked, his tears stopped as his curiosity took over.
"Form a union and send your counter proposal to her," said Jenny.
The elf frowned, "Form a union and tell her what we want?" This was just as alien an idea to an elf as was free time.
"Well," said Jenny, "You're not happy with what she wants to impose, so tell her what would make you happy. Then, negotiate."
"Elves do not know how to do this, Madam." He looked up at her with solemn eyes.
Jenny smiled at him. "I'll help. You get your union together for a meeting tomorrow morning, early. It's Sunday and we don't open until noon."
"Alright, Madam," the elf nodded enthusiastically, creating a draught, as his ears flapped.
After receiving an urgent call on his mobile phone at home, Severus apparated to the new Latte Library location.
He approached the two Malfoy's and Hermione, who was weeping silently, and asked, "What is it? Jenny may be in labour."
"Look," said Lucius angrily, "Look what your wife instigated," he told Severus, as he pointed at the front of the shop.
Severus frowned, as he looked at the most unlikely sight he'd ever hoped to behold. "Jenny did this?" he asked.
"Yes," replied Hermione, "And it's my entire fault. I thought I was doing something good..." her crying turned to hiccoughs.
Severus looked again at the line of elves marching in a circle in front of the new shop. They wore T-shirts emblazoned with the name, National Union of Free-elves. They carried placards bearing slogans like - ON STRIKE, UNFAIR WORKING CONDITIONS and, worst of all, ELVES OF THE WORLD - UNITE. Severus looked behind him, and saw some Hogwarts elves watching. He hoped they didn't get any ideas.
Draco approached the elf that appeared to be in charge. "If you could just ask them to go back to work, we can talk about this."
Bicky shook his head, ruffling Draco's robes with a breeze. "No, sir, we can't do that. We need a collective bargaining and then we must agree on things and then we go back to work."
"But the shop opens in two days," said Draco, angrily, "You must go back."
"We needs to agree, sir," replied Bicky.
"What's that?" asked Draco, hearing voices singing.
"Oh fuck," muttered Severus, under his breath, as he heard what the elves were singing. This had Jenny written all over it.
The elves sang, in time the honoured fashion of all good unionist's,
"They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn,
But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel will turn;
We can break their haughty power, gain our freedom when we learn;
That the union makes us strong.
Solidarity forever, Solidarity forever, Solidarity forever,
For the union makes us strong "
"What are they singing?" asked Lucius, aghast at what was happening. A small crowd was now gathering.
"The Internationale, the anthem of the Muggle trade unions a la communists." replied Severus, harking back to his roots. The situation was becoming more bizarre by the moment. Severus closed his eyes and thought; an arbitrator.
"That's it," he said to Lucius, "You need a middle man, a negotiator."
"Who?" asked Lucius, in desperation...
..."Oh thank you, sir, Mr Harry Potter, sir. You are our greatest friend and hero," said Bicky. His band of union brothers stood behind him, enthusiastically nodding their heads in agreement; creating a new weather system with the accompanying high wind from their flapping ears.
"My pleasure," said Harry, shaking the elf's hand, "It all worked out alright.
Hermione shook her head, "Two Galleons a month, two days off a month, one lunch break and one five minute break a day and unlimited working hours, if the worker desires it."
"They're elves, Hermione, work is their life. They love it," said Harry, trying to comfort her.
"Yes, Miss Granger," said Lucius. "You cannot pay an elf to work; that is an insult. You pay them to take time off; it's a bribe to make you feel better about the whole situation."
"I'll never get used to it, never," she said, finally admitting defeat, as she walked into the shop where the elves were swarming over everything, getting ready to open.
Severus heard his cell phone ring and took it from his pocket. "Hello...Jenny? What is it? Now, alright...just sit down. What? Your water broke...don't worry about it, I'll clean it later, it's only water. I'll get someone to look after Darrius."
Clutching the phone, Severus looked around. Granger and the Malfoy's had disappeared into the shop. Which left...with a resigned sigh, he grabbed Potter.
"You'll do; come with me," He told Harry, as he apparated them both, to his house in Braemar.
Harry staggered when he arrived. "Where are we?" he asked.
"My home; come quickly," said Snape, dragging him along behind him.
"What is it?" asked Harry, confused about why he was here.
"I need you to look after Darrius, until Minerva comes," he replied, "Jenny, went into labour."
"Oh, alright, then," Harry replied, wondering why he was chosen.
Jenny was leaning on the fireplace mantle, when they arrived.
"It's coming fast, Severus," she said, looking at Harry over his shoulder.
"Potter will look after Darrius, until Minerva comes," he told her. He grabbed her bag from the cupboard.
Darrius looked up at Harry, who was still stunned at his task, "You my uncle?" he asked.
"Um, not really, no," Harry replied,
"Be good, Darrius, mummy will be home soon," said Jenny, just as she disappeared with Severus while he apparated.
"I'm Darrius," said the little boy.
"Yes, I know," said Harry.
"I have go pee pee. Go potty?" he asked, pulling at the front of his pants. He trotted off down the hall. Harry followed.
Harry sighed; what had Snape gotten him into.
"Take a deep breath, Jenny. Just one more time," encouraged the midwife.
With a strangled grunt, Jenny gave birth to a daughter, who complained at being brought forth, with a lusty cry.
"Well done, then," exclaimed the Midwife, "Yes, cry nice and hard to clear your lungs, little one. Look at all the hair."
Severus leaned down and kissed Jenny's face before he turned to see his daughter. Through the tears he'd later deny, he saw a squirming bundle of delicate pink, sporting a surprising amount of black hair.
"No doubt where she got the hair from," commented the baby nurse, now handling the new-born."
"Go and see her, Severus, then bring her here," said Jenny, as she relaxed under the ministrations of the midwife.
Severus approached the table where his child now lay, being measured and examined by the baby nurse.
"How is she?" he asked, his voice filled with uncommon emotion.
"She's looks healthy and perfect. Her nose is a bit on the big side, but she'll grow into it." The nurse babbled on, not thinking about what she said, until she turned and looked at Severus.
Snape looked at the woman through hooded eyes; that she should insinuate his daughter was anything but beautiful.
"Professor Snape, your daughter is lovely. Now, I think your wife would like to see her," said the nurse, red-faced at her slip of tongue. She handed the bundled baby to the tall wizard, who held the child in a confident embrace.
Severus looked down at his infant daughter, who stared back at him. He was amazed at her eyes, which mirrored his own dark orbs, and at the stubborn purse of her lips. This was undoubtedly his daughter. His heart swelled at the thought.
"Severus, can I hold her now?" asked Jenny.
Severus laid the baby in Jenny's arms and sat beside the bed.
"She's just like you, love," said Jenny. She smoothed the fine baby hair, which had grown thick on the baby's head.
"Perhaps she'll grow out of it," he said.
Jenny smiled, "I hope not. So, did you pick out the name?"
Severus sighed, "Must this task always fall to me?"
Jenny smiled at him, "This will be the last time, Severus. The healer said I shouldn't push it any later."
"I have no problem with that decision, Jenny. I never thought I'd have one child, let alone two." He reached out and stroked her cheek.
"So, I know you've been looking. What did you decide?" she asked once more.
He looked down, "I thought about what meaning you had in my life and I searched for a name that would match Snape."
"And?" she urged.
"Since we live in Scotland, I thought, Saoirse Jennifer Snape." He waited for her response.
"Seershuh Jennifer?" she asked, pronouncing it as she'd heard it.
Severus smiled, "The first name is spelt, SAOIRSE."
"What does it mean?" she asked finally.
"In Gaelic, it means freedom," he replied.
Jenny smiled at him, understanding the meaning behind the name, "Alright, Saoirse it is."
"Nanna Nerva, I gonna chase you?" asked Darrius.
Minerva thought for a moment, then smiled, "Yes, but first, I must prepare myself," she told the little boy.
Harry had stayed on, at McGonagall's insistence, lest she be called to the school. He watched his ex-head of house indulge the Snape baby, as though he was her own grandchild. He felt envy at not knowing her this way; it would have made his childhood so much more pleasant.
Darrius watched as Minerva transformed into a cat and scampered away.
"Nanna, Nanna, I be cat too!" insisted Darrius.
Harry followed, wondering what would happen. He gasped when he saw the outcome.