Minerva opened the door to her Headmistress’ study and glanced up at the painting behind her desk. “Oh, Great Juno’s Girdle! Not again!”
Instead of standing in the traditional pose of past Headmasters --- ceremonial robes carefully draped, wand at the ready and expression of benevolent wisdom on face, etc. --- Snape was hunched at his desk with his back to Minerva. The room in the painting was identical to his old dungeon study, with the interesting addition of two items. One was a copy of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” nailed to the back of the door. It was torn, mangled and pierced with a dozen darts. The other item was a laptop.
“I see you’re still gorging on that pornography. It’s absolutely disgusting. You’re going to do yourself an injury, you know.”
Snape drew himself up in his chair and said loftily. “It is NOT pornography, you evil-minded old trout. It is the deeply felt outpouring of affection from my legion of beloved fans.”
Minerva snorted. She stood on tiptoes and looked at his glowing computer screen. He was, as usual, logged onto the Sycophant Hex Occlumency site. Minerva read aloud. “ ‘Delicious Detention with Delectable Snape --- this story includes explicit, lewd or deviant sexual descriptions.’ Oh, right! Excuse me. That’s Literature for the Ages, that is.”
Snape leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms. “I believe that by anyone’s standards I have earned a well-deserved rest. I have been lied to, dishonored and dumped.” He gave a sour glance at the battered book on the back of the door. “I have been killed off in a manner so ignominious and pathetic, that surely I merit a little cosseting. If I chose to indulge now and then…”
“… twenty-four bloody hours a day,” muttered Minerva.
“… in a little light recreation…”
“… clearly I am entitled to pursue my simple hobby without the interference of a desiccated old bat who hasn’t indulged in carnal exercise since Fawkes was an egg.”
“That is none of your bloody business and I’ll thank you not to speculate on my personal life which, Athena knows, I get little enough of having to deal with a slavering sex addict salivating all over my office.”
Snape assumed a pained look. “You wound me to the quick, Minerva. There was a time when you rather fancied a weekend of rigorous rutting with me. But of course, now that I’m a mere shade, a corpse, a… ”
“Oh can it, Severus,” she snapped. With a deep sigh she dropped into her chair and reached into the bottom desk drawer to pull out a well-visited bottle of Ogden’s Old Firewhiskey. She poured herself a generous slug and continued. “Really, this will not do. I thought that getting you a computer would keep you occupied and indeed it has. Far too occupied. You need to get out more.”
Snape gave her a withering glance. “Why? It’s not exactly as though I need the exercise --- being DEAD, as you might recall.” Even as he spoke, Minerva could see his eyes roaming back to the computer screen and his fingers twitching towards the keyboard.
“Because,” she said with exaggerated patience, “you are driving me demented. You’re constantly shouting imprecations and snorting and swearing at that damn thing. That is when you’re not making other… er… amatory noises, which, as a lady, I won’t even begin to try to describe. Really, Severus, it’s most embarrassing!”
Snape slumped down in his chair and heaved a great pathetic sigh. In a flood of self-pity he whined, “But Minerva, if you could see what some of these dunderheads are writing about me! They dress me up in leather knickers and green Speedos, put my hair in a ponytail, drug me into submission, marry me off to teen-age strumpets and even pair me off with Potter, for the love of Merlin! He shuddered and dropped his head into his hands. “I feel so… so… cheap!”
Minerva rolled her eyes. “Oh, puh-leez! You tried it on with every female you ever met! And half the men, if what I read on that ridiculous Occlumency site is true.”
Severus gave a dismissive shrug. “Mere rumors.”
“You were kicked out of that Potions conference in New Orleans for lewd behavior ---- and I understand that takes some doing in New Orleans.”
He scowled. “Those photos were doctored.”
“And I heard that you were engaged to one of Hagrid’s sheep!”
He blushed. “She led me on.”
“The point is, Snape, that you’d do it with a Blast-Ended Skrewt if it took your fancy, so don’t come on all coy with me.” Minerva stood up and poked her finger at the portrait. “The real problem here is that you’re not in control and that’s what’s got your knickers in a twist. You’re at the mercy of these randy females. You’re their sexual plaything. A toy boy. A mere … ”
“I realize, of course, Minerva, that your insufferable interference stems from pathetic jealousy.” Snape gave her a smug look and leaned back in his chair.
“Jeal---?! What?” Minerva began to sputter in her rage. But Snape had already swiveled around to his computer and was scrolling down a fanfic titled “The Unbuttoned Snape”. In a moment he was shouting at the screen. “No, no, no, you ignorant slut! I do not drink appletinis and listen to Yanni! And get your hands off my…” He never even heard the door slam as Minerva stormed out.
“I tell you, Sibyll, I’m going doolally listening to Snape moaning and groaning all day like a porno flick. Believe me, it is not conducive to getting on with the business of Headmistressing!” In moments of stress, Minerva often sought out the school seeress in her stuffy, but cozy, little classroom den. It was already decorated for the upcoming Xmas holidays with a tree whose erratically blinking lights made it appear to be having a nervous breakdown. Swags of tinsel hung where they were sure to catch in one’s hair. In addition to a smoking fireplace, clouds of incense and the smell of too many cats, Sibyll had scattered tippy little bowls of seasonal scents like Cinnamon Cookie, Festive Pine and Holly Berry Blast. It was enough to stupefy a stoat.
The Divinations mistress was as profoundly loopy as always, but Minerva found that there was something oddly soothing about her company. Besides, you could always count on Sibyll to have a few joints rolled and ready to share. Neither of the women indulged on a regular basis, but now and again some contemplative time with a fat doobie helped to ease the stress and often sparked an insight or two.
“If you recall, dear, I did foresee that getting Snape that computer would come to no good end.” Sibyll took a deep drag and exploded into hacking coughs as she passed the joint.
“You also predicted that Voldemort would become Headmaster and that Xmas would be cancelled,” huffed Minerva as she inhaled the Silly Smoke. “We’ll never be able to wrench that wretched Muggle interneb thingy from him now.”
“I think it’s called an ‘interneck’.”
“Whatever. All I know is that those shameless women who write all those disgusting stories are driving Snape --- and consequently ME --- around the twist. Holy Hecate, don’t they have jobs to go to, families to care for, lives to live?”
“You’ve got to learn to close your inner eye and unknot your chi, girl. And don’t bogart that thing,” Sibyll tsked, grabbing the roach and fixing it in an elegant little clip. She puffed meditatively, ignoring the sizzling sparks that were drifting up into her hair. “Snape is rather like a boy who’s just started working in a candy store. He’s in his guzzling phase.”
“Ugh. Too true! He even makes slurping sounds. Speaking of candy, you wouldn’t have any munchies around here?”
“I predict that the sooner he gets his fill, the quicker he’ll settle down and, most likely, go off candy altogether.”
Minerva gazed on the Divinations mistress and mused slowly, “You know, Sibyll, I think you may have smacked the old sweet potato right on the head.” She stood up, swaying every so slightly.
Sibyll, whose eyes were slowly crossing behind the bottle-thick lenses of her spectacles, was trying to light another joint. “Mmmmm?”
“I mean, you know, crystalimated the forkulation of the… oh hell, you know… figulated it out! Well done! Excuse me, dear, I’d better get crackling on this.” Minerva staggered to the door and wobbled off, trailing a string of tinsel behind her.
When she reached her private rooms she grabbed a quill with one hand and a squawking owl with the other. In less than a minute she had finished her letter to the administrators of Sycophant Hex. It was something of a scrawl, with ink blots liberally scattered throughout, but even a little stoned, Minerva was nothing less than to the point.
Throwing open the casement she flung the owl out. Fat flakes of snow were just beginning to fall. Shivering, she drew her shawl around her more tightly and said, “Don’t let me down, ladies.”
Over the next few weeks Hogwarts prepared for Xmas in earnest. With all the bustle of decorating, wrapping presents and preparing for the Yule Ball, no one seemed to notice the large number of packages arriving almost daily. Least of all Snape. Not being forced to join in all the revolting jollity was one of the few advantages he could see to being dead. His favorite seasonal amusement was to wither the fresh holly garlands into black funeral wreaths.
As Xmas morning finally dawned, Minerva was seen scuttling down one of the more remote halls of Hogwarts. She stopped in front of a dusty old still life that hung beside an inconspicuous wooden door. In the painting, Snape was already leaning against the fruit-laden table, still dressed in his green Slytherin jammies and fluffy slippers, morosely eating a banana.
“I cannot fathom the reason why I was required to meet you here at this absurd hour of the morning.” He threw the banana peel over his shoulder and gave Minerva a look that would curdle eggnog. “Woe be unto you, if you have planned some ridiculous holiday nonsense. You are well aware of my loathing for all things festive.”
Determined to keep her temper, Minerva replied, “Jolly seasonal greetings to you, too. The students will be coming down for Christmas breakfast any moment now, and I wanted to give you your present first.”
“Present?” Snape’s eyebrow shot up with suspicion. “We have never exchanged gifts before in the dragging eternity that we have known one another. You know I detest presents.”
A woman could only stand so much. Minerva put her hands on her hips and hissed, “You’ll bloody well take this present and like it, you self-absorbed, whining ingrate! Get your wand out and make it snappy. NOW!” When she used her Headmistress-in-a-Snit voice, even Severus obeyed. Minerva stabbed a pointed finger. “There. That door. Open it.”
Snape rolled his eyes and assumed an expression of long-suffering, but pulled out his wand and performed the spell. The ancient lock creaked and the door slowly swung open. “Go ahead. You’ll find a painting right inside the door.” Minerva walked in and waited until Snape appeared inside the large, freshly painted canvas. The artist had portrayed the Potion master’s old rooms, but had replaced his narrow cot with a sumptuous canopied bed heaped with fur throws and silk bolsters. Snape slowly took this in. Then, as he turned to look out at her, Minerva saw his expression turn from its usual sour knot to one of utter stupefaction.
On the walls behind her were hundreds and hundreds of paintings of women of every shape, size, coloring, age and disposition. Some were demure, others blatant. There were nudes and nuns, gowns and garters, whips and chains, butterflies and posies, sexy leers and bashful blushes. It appeared that nearly every female member of the Occlumency website had had her portrait painted and sent to Hogwarts as requested by Minerva.
“Ta-da!“ she announced with some satisfaction. “Here it is ---your own personal bevy of bonking beauties. Rather an impressive variety, no? All eager and willing. Even willing to appear unwilling if that’s your fancy. Feel free to Fornicate like a Ferret, play Hide the Sausage and Stuff the Taco until you are a mere shriveled husk. You have only to promise me that you’ll confine your activities to this room. No more drooling and moaning and groaning in my office. Agreed?”
Snape dragged his stunned eyes from the portraits and looked down at his old friend. “Minerva, I’m overwhelmed. To think that you would do this for me! That you would provide me with all these luscious morsels when you, yourself, can’t have me --- even though I know that you still harbor deep feelings of lust and longing for me.”
“Oh, sweet suffering Circe!” the Headmistress groaned. “Snape, you’ll never change! Fine. Terrific. Whatever you want to believe. Suffice it to say that you will now cease and desist to use my office as your Shagging Shack.”
“Of course, Headmistress, whatever you say!” Snape’s glittering eyes were already rolling over the stacks and stacks of paintings and she could tell that she had obviously lost his attention. He clapped his hands together smartly and shouted, “Now, ladies, first I want you all to change into Hogwarts school uniforms. The ones with the short skirts and white cotton knickers. No, wait… never mind. I think maybe some sort of harem outfits. And let’s get a lot of pillows in here. Wait, we’ll have all the blondes line up on the left, the brunettes over here and the redheads… no, no, blondes, I said LEFT! “
“Merry Xmas, Severus,” Minerva whispered with a contented sigh as she closed the door behind her. If Snape even bothered to answer, his response was drowned out by a chorus of female voices.
“Over here, Severus!”
“No, me first! Me first!”
Merry Xmas to all, and to all a picture perfect night with the Potions master!