Sequel to The Old Walls Crumble. To know Jenny, you need to read that story first. The continuing saga of Severus Snape, his family, aquaintances and students. Mostly in humorous, drabble form, wit...
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.
Sorry I've taken so long to update but life got busy. Marilyn (MarkDarcy) this one's for you. I hope you enjoy it.
Harry and Minerva looked at the little boy asleep in his cot. His small fist hugged his favourite Hippogriph to his chest and his face broke into small smiles, revealing the happy dreams visited upon him.
"Jenny'll kill us, Professor," whispered Harry.
"I'm sure it'll be fine, Potter. It cleared itself up, yesterday," whispered Minerva in reply. She beckoned to Harry to follow and led him from the nursery, closing and warding the door against noise behind her.
"Professor, yesterday he transformed the kitten's ears and tail back to normal as soon as you told him cats couldn't have pudding. He didn't like the blancmange, so your bribery didn't work today." Harry passed his fingers through his habitually unruly hair.
Minerva pursed her lips, "Well, he's just gone down, Potter, I'm sure it'll clear itself up before he wakes."
"I bloody well hope so, "muttered Harry under his breath.
"All set then?" asked the Midwife.
"Yeah, I'm ready to go," replied Jenny, "I've missed my other babbie."
"Ah, yes, I remember, you've a little boy at home," said the Midwife, as she bundled Saoirse up in a shawl, ready to travel. "Just remember to get your rest, Jenny. A toddler can be a handful, never mind a newborn."
"I'll do my best," she replied, taking the baby into her arms.
Severus entered the room carrying a baby carry-basket with a canvas shroud covering it.
"I brought the Floo-cradle. Are you ready to go?" he asked, putting the basket on the bed.
"Yes, Daddy, we're all ready to go home and meet Saoirse's big brother," replied Jenny. She laid the baby in the basket, tucking the blanket around her firmly then let Severus pull the shroud over it, securing the edges.
"That will keep the soot out," he said, picking the basket up by the handles, ready to leave.
Jenny approached the Midwife and shook her hand. "Thank you for everything, you've been so kind and helpful."
"Indeed," added Severus, "I most grateful for the care you have given my wife and child."
The Midwife held up her hand in negation, "Please, it was my pleasure. It makes me happy to see such a nice family. Now, I want a picture when she's a year old; just like you sent one of Darrius."
Jenny and Severus took the baby to the hospital Floo area and returned to their home in Braemar. Jenny stepped out of the hearth to let Severus and the baby come through. As she brushed off her clothes, she saw Minerva and Harry enter the room.
"Welcome home, Jenny," said Minerva warmly.
"It's nice to see you, Mrs. Snape," said Harry.
"Mrs. Snape? Come on Harry, you always call me Jenny," she replied, pulling off her cloak.
Severus stepped out of the hearth and set the basket on the sofa. "Minerva, Potter, thank you for staying,"
"Och, it was nothing, Severus. Now, let's see the wee lassie." Minerva came closer to get her first glimpse of the newborn.
Severus carefully removed the soot-shroud to reveal the baby within the basket. Minerva looked at him, wordlessly asking to pick the bundle up.
"Go ahead, Nana, I know you're desperate to get your hands on her," said Snape.
"What did you name her," asked the older woman, lifting the baby into her arms.
"Saoirse Jennifer," replied Severus.
"Is Darrius down for his nap?" asked Jenny.
"Just a few minutes ago," replied Harry. "He's sound asleep."
"I'll just nip in and take a peek," said Jenny, "I've missed my little wizard." She opened the door to the hall before Harry could stop her.
"Ah, Jenny, wait...I mean...oh, bugger," said Harry, as he followed her.
Severus looked at Minerva, "What happened?" At the same moment, he heard Jenny scream, prompting him to join her quickly.
"Severus!" yelled Jenny, "Severus, look," she pointed into the cot, "Look at my baby boy,"
Harry withdrew from the room and rejoined Minerva in the living room.
"Uhm, Professor, I think I'd better go," said Harry, edging to the fireplace.
"You make a move from this house without me and I'll send hairballs wrapped in howlers to you for the rest of my feline life," threatened Minerva, still holding the baby. "You gave him the idea about puppy's chasing cats."
They heard Jenny's voice reach them from the nursery, "I was there when he was made, and I'll tell you Severus, there were no puppy dog tails involved. Change him back, right now."
Severus returned to the room carrying the newly woken Darrius, who sported the black nose, floppy ears and wagging tail of a Jack Russell terrier.
"Alright, who gave him the bright idea that he could transform?" asked Severus, giving the pair a menacing look.
Harry and Minerva looked at each other, and then pointed an accusing finger in each other's direction.
August 29, 2005
"Come on, Darrius, Daddy has to bring Saoirse," said Jenny, reaching into the Vanishing Cabinet for her son. Draco had explained to Severus how he'd repaired the cabinet in his fateful sixth year and suggested it would be an ideal portal between the school and home. The second Vanishing cabinet was installed in Severus' office in the Braemar house.
The tyke jumped out and ran to the hallway that led to his room. "Muuuummmmy," he shouted, "Come see, we got a new door."
Severus was coming through the cabinet with the baby, just as his son shouted. "What is he shouting about, Jenny?" he asked, as he passed he daughter to his wife before reaching back for a bag of belongings packed at the last minute..
"I don't know," snapped Jenny, "Oh bother," she spat, as a knock came to their door.
"I'll get it," said Snape impatiently.
In a few long strides, he reached the door and wrenched it open, ready to assail the person who'd dared to visit at such an inauspicious time.
"What do you...Oh, it's you, Minerva," he said, biting back the acerbic comment he was about to release.
"Welcome back, nice to see you too," said Minerva, walking past him to greet Jenny.
"Hello, Minerva, how've you been?" greeted Jenny, freeing an arm to hug the older woman.
"Fair to middling, dear," she replied, "I thought I'd come and let you know what changes have been made to your accommodations."
Darrius trotted from the hall to meet the visitor. "Nana Nerva," he said, reaching up for a hug, "Nana, come see, we've got a new door." He pulled her in the direction of the hall.
Minerva looked at Jenny and Severus. "Why don't we all go."
They followed Darrius into the lengthened hallway leading to the bedrooms. It had a new door at the end.
"I spoke to the elves and mentioned you had a new baby girl. As you can imagine, they were ecstatic. Next thing I know, they told me the castle had made changes to your apartments." Minerva gestured around her. "This was your old room, Jenny," she said, pointing to the door beside her. "Go ahead, Darrius, open the door, just push."
The little boy shoved on the door, which opened immediately. He walked in and exclaimed, "Daddy, Daddy, look, Quidditch."
Severus walked into the room, followed by Jenny. They looked at the walls of the redecorated room. Animated Quidditch players flew around the border of the wallpaper and a bludger, a pair of quaffles and a Golden Snitch, floated close to the ceiling.
"The elves did this?" asked Snape, staggered at the dÃ©cor.
Minerva shrugged, "I'm not sure if it was them or the castle. Come, the nursery was redecorated in pinks and you've been given a new room." She led them down the hall, leaving Darrius to amuse himself in his new domain.
Jenny opened the door to the nursery, only to find it had become a baby girl's paradise. She laid the slumbering baby in the cot, and then turned to see another new door. When she opened it, she saw Minerva and Severus standing in the middle of a new bedroom.
"This is amazing," said Jenny, as she entered, "What's through that door?" she asked, seeing another on the wall beside the entrance from the hall.
Severus opened it, "Another full bathroom; what are they doing this for?" he wondered aloud.
"I can't say, Severus, but we know the castle has a life of its own. I think it likes you and your family," Minerva told him with a small smile crossing her face.
Severus pondered for a moment on what she said, only to be interrupted by an elf appearing behind him.
The elf bowed and introduced himself, "I am Oppa, the Head Housekeeping Elf, Master. Professor Snape, the elves are wondering if you like the changes to your chambers, sir? We haven't had children in the castle since our elders generation."
Snape regarded the elf who appeared to be quite old. "The renovations are quite adequate. My wife and I are satisfied."
The elf bowed lower, "Thank you, master. Some of the lady elves are wondering - do you require a nanny? They would like to look after the babies but were afraid of the Muggle. Would she let us help?"
"The 'Muggle' is my wife. Why would they be afraid?"
The elf looked around then whispered, "They'd heard Muggles were cruel to their servants but then when Mrs Snape helped the elves in the book shop - well..." he trailed off.
"I shall ask Mrs Snape. Was there anything else?" Snape asked.
The elf pulled out an envelope from his tea towel toga. "This came for the Muggle Mistress." He passed it to Severus.
"Why didn't you give it to her yourself?" asked Snape as he looked at the return address.
The elf blushed. "Oppa is not afraid but..."
"Never mind," snapped Severus, "You may go."
The elf disappeared with a pop just as Jenny joined them. She took the letter from Severus and opened it.
"It's from Hermione. She wants me to come to the shop in Braemar." She looked up at Severus. "You have so much to do today... "
"I'll child mind for you, Jenny," offered Minerva only to meet with identical glares from the parents. She sniffed imperiously, "You have my word - no transformations."
Jenny looked at Severus once then looked back at the older witch, "Alright, thank you, Minerva. I hope I won't be gone long."
"How many? Are you mad... I told you all about Muggle copyright law... Are there others you've done... bloody hell, we're going to get sued." Jenny, seriously distressed, was pacing back and forth in the office. Draco and Hermione watched her from behind the desk.
"We couldn't get delivery for six weeks, Jenny. The company has a reputation to uphold. It's not like the publisher knows anything. What are a few more Muggle books? It's clear profit." Draco was hard pressed to understand why the Muggle was upset.
Jenny stopped pacing and leaned her palms on the desk, "Malfoy, do Wizards never do an Audit on company books? Do you not have to account for where your profit comes from?"
Draco shifted uncomfortably in his chair, "Well... yes, but you see that's different. There's a charm on the books we duplicate and it's added to the inventory of sold books and the fee is calculated and added to the publisher's bill automatically. If the book is too dangerous to cast a copy charm on, it's warded."
Jenny took a deep breath, "Hermione, do you understand?"
"Uhm... well... yes," she agreed reluctantly. "I hadn't realized how many or how often... I mean, one or two wouldn't..." she trailed off at Jenny's glare.
"Every title has a registered number. The publisher has an exact count of how many books they put out and how many are distributed. They send out reps to inventory stock at the shops and the warehouse. Then they crunch the numbers and compare against what is sold," she explained as though to a child. "Now, how do I account for the books I sold that they didn't send to me?" The question had started quietly and ended in a shout.
Hermione cleared her throat, "Draco and I have come up with an idea. It's not illegal or anything - well not precisely legal either. The books are ours, after all. We just don't have them yet. We'll need to take a couple of elves and do it late at night when the shipping docks are closed at the distribution warehouse..."
Jenny pinched her nose and closed her eyes in an eerily identical manner to her husband. "Do I want to know about this? Should I know? If I stop listening, I can honestly plead ignorance." She grabbed her hand bag from the desk where she'd set it down. "No, I neither want nor need to know anything. Make it right and do... what ever... soon. I'm going home to some healthy G and T's after I tuck my kiddies in for the night." With that final statement, she left and returned to the quiet of pre-term Hogwarts.
"What's this then? Still trying to look good in the governor's eye's then, Len?"
Len, the senior shipper at Clays Printers in Bungay, was working late in the evening. The beginning of the school year was always a peak period when books were being shipped country wide to meet the needs of schools and colleges. He looked up and nodded to the younger man, a rep who'd been in to file his report.
"Someone's got to do the job, Des," he called out, "I figure I'll show'em how it's done right one more time."
"You Yanks, always got to be the best," retorted Des.
"You got it, buddie, and don't forget it." He smiled and waved goodbye as Des left through the security doors. He turned back to the computer once more.
Len was thinking about his wife and the planned trip back to his old home in the state of Georgia, USA. It had been years since he'd been back. He'd met and married his wife in England, while he'd been serving in U.S. Air Force. They'd travelled a lot while they were young but had finally settled in England. It had been a good life for the down to earth type of people they were.
Outside, there was a double pop of apparition when a witch and wizard appeared in the bushes behind the parking lot of Clays. Two more pops followed, when Bicky and another elf also appeared.
"Is this the right place?" asked Draco in a shaky voice as he looked around furtively.
"How did you ever believe you could be anything like Snape or your Father?" asked Hermione.
"What d'you mean?" he asked defensively.
Hermione sighed. "Never mind. Your father and I came here when we signed the contract with the printers. I had a tour, but I don't know my way around inside. Movement was pretty restricted - lots of locked security doors and everything." She pointed to the side where the loading docks were located. "Let's head over there. We can see inside and do a short apparate to get in." She turned to the elves. "Can you get into the building when we're in there?"
Bicky nodded, "Yes, mistress, we will come to you when you call."
"Where are these camera's you're talking about?" asked Draco.
"All over," Hermione replied as she pulled out Harry's invisibility cloak. "Here, get under and crouch a bit."
"Do you really need me with you?" asked Draco, his trepidation all too apparent.
"Get under or I'll hex your arse," snapped Hermione.
Draco pulled the cloak around him and walked awkwardly, together with Hermione, to the side of the building. They peeked through a window and saw an open area in the warehouse.
"There," said Draco. "Ready?"
With a pop, Hermione was gone and inside the building.
"Show off," muttered Draco, before he joined her. "Now what?" he asked, passing her the cloak.
"Now, we Accio the order and have the elves move it to our warehouse in Wales." She pulled out an order form from her pocket. While Hermione had known about the exterior cameras, she didn't know about the hidden interior security camera system. They were both caught in the lens of the shipping department's electric eye.
In the office, Len noticed a movement on one of the security screens. He looked at it closely, ready to call security but halted when something unusual happened. Two other - people, he guessed - suddenly appeared out of thin air.
"What in hell is going on?" he asked himself aloud.
He got up and left the office, taking a security radio with him. As he turned the corner to where Hermione and Draco were standing, he was almost hit by a packing case filled with books, which was floating through the air.
"Look out, there's more coming!" called Hermione, when she saw the near miss.
Len flattened against the wall, and watched the boxes float by and land beside the unlikely intruders.
"Who are you and how did you get in here?" demanded Len. He was eyeing the elves with astonishment.
"Bugger," muttered Draco quietly. "You said the place would be empty."
"I thought it would be," Hermione replied before turning on her smile. "Hi, uhm, I suppose... that is... didn't anyone tell you we were going to check out the area for a picture we're making. We're looking for shooting locations."
"Bull," retorted Len. "You'd have security with you." He nodded at the elves, "Who're these guys? You gonna tell me you're making a new version of E.T. or Close Encounters?" He was fingering the radio, ready to call security.
Draco pulled his wand, "Accio... thingy" Miraculously; the radio flew out of Len's hand towards Draco.
"What?" Len watched as his contact with the outside world was torn from him.
"Sir, there's a lot to explain. We came to pick up our order and, well, we were late?" offered Hermione.
"Try again," he said, "I'm not stupid. Who are you?" Len watched as the elves levitated the boxes and disappeared with them. "How..." He pointed at the empty space.
"We have to Obliviate him, Hermione," said Draco.
"I don't want to, Malfoy." Hermione approached the Muggle. "Sir, see here, I have an order. The books are ours, honestly." She passed the papers over to him.
He took the papers without looking. "They just disappeared... poof! Gone!"
Hermione nodded, "Yes, they do that all the time. They're called elves."
Len looked at her, "Like Santa Claus elves?"
"Not exactly," she replied, "If you could look at the paper please, sir. There are two more order numbers on here. We'd like to take them as well. It would save you the problem of shipping, you see."
"Are the little guys coming back," he asked, as he finally looked at the order form.
"Sure, they're coming," humoured Draco, and snapped his fingers calling the elves to him.
The two elves returned. They stared back at the Muggle staring at them.
Len looked back at the paper, "This order's due to go next week, after the school orders."
"Yes, but we're out of stock. We thought we could pick it up, you see." She watched for his reaction. "Can I get the rest?"
"I gotta sit down," said Len, leaning on the wall.
Hermione found an empty box and transfigured it into a stool. She placed it behind Len who slid down the wall and sat on it. She plucked the order form from his fingers and passed it to Draco. He summoned the next order number, which began floating down the hall towards them.
"Sir, you realize we aren't stealing anything now, don't you? We'll just take our orders and go. I'll sign the shipping form and everything will be alright."
Len shook his head, "How's he doing that?" He watched the elves disappear once more and return.
"It's difficult to explain," replied Hermione, "It's magic."
"Magic," echoed Len, "You guys aliens or something? Does the government know about this?"
"No, we're quite human, sir. Just a little gifted with magic. The government does know about us, sort of."
The last order was finally transported by the elves who disappeared for the final time. Hermione turned back to Len, hoping for his cooperation.
"Well, we're done, now sir. We're going to leave. It's very important that you not discuss our visit with anyone or there will be all kinds of problems for all of us."
"Is that a threat?" asked Len, suspicious once more.
"No," said Draco, "It's guaranteed, if word gets out that you know about us. The government gets upset if too many people know."
"So, you're a government secret, then. Only those who need to know have the information," said Len, trying to put everything in a logical context he could handle.
"Yeah, something like that," agreed Hermione.
"Okay, what do I get for keeping my mouth shut. The government's got money." Len decided to push to see if they were telling the truth.
Hermione looked at Draco, "We can't give you money. Is there something you want; for your wife perhaps?"
"Yeah... yeah. We're going on holiday back to the States. How about some nice jewelry she can wear when I take her on the town. We're gonna spend some time in Atlanta."
"The home of CNN," muttered Hermione. "Alright, do you have a car?" she asked.
"It's the blue one right outside the door," replied Len.
Hermione smiled at him, "Good, check the car bonnet in five minutes. I hope you'll be pleased. Just remember, if it's found that you have talked to people about us, there could be problems for you."
Len watched as they each turned and suddenly disappeared. He took the order form back to his office and marked it off as delivered in the computer then shut everything down. What weird world this is, he thought, as he exited the building. He turned and keyed the security lock.
As he approached his car, he noticed a gift box sitting on the bonnet. He opened the lid and gasped. A gold necklace with matching earrings and bracelet lay on a cushion of the softest silk. He'd have to come up with a good story for this present that was for sure. He closed the box and looked around. He appeared to be alone but who knew. He'd just seen magic of the sort you heard about in stories; who could have imagined. Now, he'd look at strangers and wonder - are you one of them?
With a final shake of his head, Len got in his car for the trip home. Maybe one day this mystery would be revealed to the world and he could tell his story. Maybe...