Fun for all that children call their favorite time of year.
has been a marked reduction in madcap comedy in this fic. Management
will correct this fault as best it can. Management offers readers
double their money back if they find the madcap level unsatisfactory.
With intra-House relations returned to normal, the next order of
business was determining everyone's Christmas plans. Harry had
nowhere to go for Christmas, but several of the girls intended to
visit their parents. Out of loyalty, they decided to let their
parents know that they'd be staying with Harry at Hogwarts. Harry
tried to persuade them not to change their plans on his behalf, but
Millicent Bulstrode kissed him to shut him up, and that was the end
Millicent had emerged as one of the leaders of the girls, due to her
size, age (she had been born in early September of 1979, making her
one of the oldest first-years), and skill at telling stories. Her
tales about Snape and Pansy during her abortive assignment to
Slytherin made for exciting horror stories, while her stories about
her family's past- like the half-giant ancestors who had ridden huge
bulls to London to complain about their taxes, giving the family its
name- made for much more pleasant bedtime listening.
The harem's other real leader was Hermione, another relatively old
first year. She chivvied her fellow students to study, and as noted
earlier, her Quidditch "prowess" meant that they sometimes actually
listened. Their grades had improved, and their professors (other
than Snape) regularly awarded them points for creative answers. It
wasn't enough to really put them in contention for the House Cup-
they were now staving off Slytherin for fourth place- but they were
doing much better than you would expect for a House at a seven-to-one
So Christmas arrived, snowy as a postcard and cold as a witch's...
where did that expression come from anyway?
Professors Sinistra and Trelawney came down from their rooms to the
Harem common room in the very early hours of the morning to find a
pile of presents waiting for them.
A HUGE pile of presents, stretching halfway across the room.
The kids tumbled out of Harry's room a while later to find the
massive pile. "Where did these all come from?" asked Harry.
Most of the presents had been from Quidditch aficionados, impressed
by the team responsible for the game's first major rule change in
over a century. The presents included autographed rulebooks, bats,
jerseys, other paraphernalia, and money to help fund the team. Many
of the letters accompanying the gifts were from professionals who had
been unhappy with or felt mistreated by the House teams when they had
been there- six-year backups who came into their own later, women
who couldn't play for Slytherin, players accused of major game-losing
mistakes and who had been ostracized for months thereafter- and who
felt that House Harem was a fitting answer as a competitor, a
subversion, or a practical joke. (A few of the more risque presents
had been removed before the kids discovered them.)
But most of the volume of the pile was brooms. Top-of-the-line
brooms, less advanced brooms, toy brooms (the magical equivalent of
heckling), and heirlooms that could have easily graced museums.
Gwenog Jones sent an entire set, including brooms specifically
designed for a Keeper and Beaters, as a "gesture of her commitment to
help women Quidditch players develop." She also sent a mini-Pensieve
memory of the press conference where she had announced the gift. Megan was irked that her aunt didn’t let her own niece know first, but was mollified when she considered how good the brooms were.
Perhaps the most interesting broom sent was from Bathilda Bagshot,
because of the letter she sent with it. The "A History of Magic"
author decided to regale the new house with stories from her time in
the harem of the Ottoman Sultan in the late 1800s. She professed to
being "unimpressed" with the Sultan's... abilities, but had enjoyed
her time there, consorting with wizards and witches of the Orient and
from all over the world. She could escape the muggle harem at any
time, but stayed for two years because she was enjoying herself so
much. (Trelawney had to censor the letter before reading it.) The
broom was of similar vintage and hence not intended for flying, but
would make a fine addition to the exhibition that they'd assembled.
When Harry heard that Ms. Bagshot was a resident of Godric's Hollow,
he knew that he had to write her a thank you letter and to ask if she
had known his parents.
The students would spend the next couple of days flying the brooms
outside to determine which ones they preferred. Brocklehurst and
Bulstrode used Jones' gifts. Parvati used a Cleansweep Nine because
of its superior precision, while the Chasers and Harry stuck with
their Nimbuses. Several of the other brooms were kept for backups or
given to the school to replace its training brooms. Most of the rest
were returned, with thank-you notes; a few that had no return
address were sold. The older brooms and other memorabilia were
turned into a sort of historical Quidditch exhibit placed in the
hallway outside the House door.
...And about that door. House Harem had been hurriedly thrown
together when the Sorting Hat and Board of Governors decreed its
creation, and it showed. The beds were nice, although other than
Harry's, they were Hogwarts standard. But the offices were bare, the
common room had only a few old wooden chairs and tables, and the door
was just painted wood with an Access Jinx.
With some of the money realized from the sold items and from the
presents, the students and Professors collaborated to design and
contract for a new entrance. Surprisingly, they agreed very quickly
on a design that was appropriate and amusing, and it took just a
couple of days to set it up because their idea was so clear.
The new House entrance consisted of a low bed with orange hangings
and linens, set into the wall in front of the common room. When a
student wanted to enter the House, he or she jumped on the bed,
shouted the password "Polygamy!" and was propelled through the opaque
silk hangings on the other side of the bed into the common room. A
person without the password would find herself bouncing off of the
silk and back onto the bed and the floor in front of it. Someone who
tried to rip off the silk hanging would find another layer of silk
behind it, and another, and another, while the rest of the hangings
confined her in a silken cocoon. Tracey Davis volunteered to be the
first to test the defenses, and was pulled out of the silk minutes
later, hysterically laughing.
Within the room, chaise longues, heavily padded armchairs, and sofas
in orange and black silk were arranged before the fire. Sinistra
noted, with amusement, that the number of pieces of furniture the
girls asked for considerably exceeded the House's current population.
Just after the New Year, the lounging students heard a curse and a
shriek of laughter from outside the door. When they opened the door
to investigate, they found a silk-wrapped, bouncing, deliriously
happy Tonks on the bed, wanting to let Harry know that she'd been
admitted to the Auror Corps training program. She asked Harry for
one more kiss before she left, which was supplied... by Millicent.
That'll teach you to close your eyes too long before you kiss.
(Harry gave her his own kiss afterward.)
And on that pleasant note, school would begin again.