Far from my usual fare, this is a HarryPotterWorld Story.
Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns the characters from the world of Harry Potter. Anna Grey is mine, however. At least I think she is, but she isn't too sure about it.
Dedicated to my friend Cilla: this is not a Mary Sue ~grin~
~ * ~ * ~
Sipping her tea, Anna gazed at the screen of her computer. Life just wasn't fair, especially not if you had just updated your virus scanner, restarted your computer and discovered the damn program had once again completely ruined the system files. What's the use anyway? Okay, so your friendly personal help desk had told you of a shortcut to restart the entire installation. And another personal help desk would be more than willing to help you, but you certainly didn't want to contact him! If only you'd inherited you parents' cunning knack for handling Muggle machines, but no, you simply had to major in the ancient crafts.
In the end you re-install the software, restart your computer half a dozen times and pray it will work this time. The start and quit sounds are beginning to annoy you, even though under normal circumstances you thoroughly enjoy them.
At least you have your local server working again. Even good ol' mom and dad never managed that! Anna sighed again. It was hard living in the Muggle world. How did the Muggles manage? No wonder one company could have a virtual monopoly in their world - Muggles just couldn't defend themselves against such an oppression!
Maybe she could set up a special support group for them. As an aide to Professor McGonegall, Anna knew she had certain privileges that would enable her to leave Hogwarts often enough without arousing suspiscion.
Invigorated by her idea, Anna left her computer running its defragmentation program and set out to find Minerva.
~ * ~ * ~
"I'm begging you, Minerva. Leave me be!"
An irate looking Professor Snape stormed out of his colleagues office, bumping into Anna."Out of my way, Muggle Loving Technocrat!"
He pushed her away and marched down the stairs, leaving Anna trembling in his wake.
"Anna? Are you all right?" Minerva McGonegall looked at the young woman.
Shaking her head, Anna focused on the concerned face of her elder. "I'll be fine. That man is just so ... so! You know what I mean. Why did he leave like that? What has Harry Potter done this time?" She managed a small smile, trying to convince Minerva her confrontation with Severus Snape hadn't upset her.
"It's not Harry Potter who upset him."
"Really? Who has done what to him this time? I'm certain he'll blame Harry for it, one way or another. Snape is just a walking Conspiracy Theory. It's a wonder Professor Dumbledore will even let him work here, especially if he doesn't improve that foul temper of his."
"Anne, leave Professor Dumbledore out of your grievances against Severus. And let's go into my office. I'm sure the Weasley twins are around here somewhere, and they certainly don't need to hear your biased opinion of our Potions Professor."
Minerva guided Anna inside and sat her down in one of the comfortable chairs
~ * ~ * ~
Amazement crept over her face. "You're kidding, I hope? Snape has opened a virus sent by George and Fred Weasley and now all his computer does is play aria's from 'Cosi fan Tute'?"
Anna cracked up, laughing so loud her hands were shaking so badly she was spilling cold tea all over her robes. "That's brilliant! I wish I'd thought of that! Those boys should receive a medal."
"Anna! Behave yourself." But even the always calm and collected Minerva McGonegall couldn't help but burst out laughing. "You should have seen his face, it was simply priceless. I wish I had my camera. Severus was steaming."
"'Was steaming'? The way he almost ran me over, I'd say he'll be steaming for quite some time."
"He most probably will, which is going to make it more difficult to repair his machine. He has tried to cast several Silentio spells, but they won't work of course. I'm afraid there's nothing else you can do, but to re-install the whole software program."
Anne blinked and swallowed hard, "Did I just hear you volunteer me?"
"Yes, dear, after all, Severus blames you for his debacle. He's certain you will bring the downfall of Hogwarts."
Snorting at the last comment, Anna poured herself some fresh tea, "Just because I suggested the students get some hands-on experience with Muggle machinery doesn't mean I want to destroy the school. How dare he?"
Anna, I know you don't, but men like Severus need time to get used to new toys. Just show him the finer points of making a database, and he'll be a computer convert in no time. Besides, I think he likes you."
~ * ~ * ~
Carrying her laptop through the dark corridors of Hogwarts dungeons was a unique experience, Anna thought. What was more anachronistic than this? She realized many wizarding families would have her head for bringing Muggle technologies to their children's school, but since the highly esteemed and wise Professor Dumbledore had endorsed her project, not even the Malfoys could stop her. Of course, Albus never mentioned his near addiction to 'Solitaire', only Anna knew his secret.
When she had contacted Professor Snape earlier, she distinctly heard him hum along to the virus' Mozart favorites. Perhaps ridding his computer of the Weasley twins' joke wouldn't be too terrible after all. Ever since meeting Snape in her Final Year at Hogwarts, Anna had been intrigued by the brooding man. At the last moment he had substituted for the previous Potions Professor, and he hadn't left ever since. She hadn't graduated in Advanced Potions for Excellent Students, so she had never had the dubious pleasure of having Snape as her teacher. Although, after hearing poor Nevil Longbottom's anguishes pleas to free him from the horrors of the course, she was thankful for her earlier revelations that she just couldn't stand the smell of a used cauldron.
She only hoped Snape's office would be cleansed of all those horrendous smells.
~ * ~ * ~
"It's really quite simple, Professor Snape. Have you managed to follow my online courses in Simple HTML-ing for the Wizard? If you have then ..."
"Ms Grey, do you really think I have the time to follow one of your Muggle training programs? I assure you, my duties as Hogwart's Potions Master keep me profoundly occupied. And contrary to popular belief, I do have other hobbies than making Potter's life miserable!"
After struggling for almost two hours to completely rid his computer from the virus, Snape had finally succeeded delicately pushing her out of his office.
"Ms Grey, thank you for all your troubles, but I'm afraid my house elf will return my computer tomorrow. Muggle technology has no place at Hogwarts, and even though you may have been able to fool Headmaster Dumbledore, you won't be able to fool me. Good night."
He all but slammed the door in her face. Anna knocked. "Professor, can I at least have my laptop back?"
The door opened again, showing an irate looking Severus holding the black device as if it had a contaminating disease. She took the laptop from him, and turned her back on him without saying a word.
Snape closed the door again, only to lean against it. "That insufferable muggle-lover!" He walked over to his computer, willing it to disappear. "Muggle technology that is immune to wizard power? Impossible!"
~ * ~ * ~
Anna leaned against her own door. The cool surface gave her a surprising solace.
"That insufferable man! How dare he? He has no right to condemn me. Nor the computer program. I'll get him for that." A devious idea crept into her mind. Logging onto her main computer, she connect the laptop and send out an email to the staff of Hogwarts. Starting tomorrow morning they would all enter into the mandatory 'Computers for Wizards 101'. Even the elusive Professor Snape would be forced to attend.
It was nice to have the Headmaster and Deputy Headmaster backing up your ideas. Anna knew she'd thoroughly enjoy teasing Severus Snape. He would be begging for mercy by the time she'd finish with him.
~ * ~ * ~
"Good morning, Ms Grey. Thank you for sending us the email. What a great idea." Professor Flitwick came in and sat down behind one of the computers in the lab. He was followed closely by the rest of the staff. Last to arrive was Dumbledore, who was accompanied by an extremely reluctant looking Snape.
Anna stood in front of the projector, overlooking her class. If only the students knew about this. They'd badger their professors with computer questions they would never be able to answer.
"All right, class. First thing today - 'turning your computer on and off'. As with most appliances it is not a wise to switch the power on and off too frequently. Make sure there is sufficient time between each action. Most modern day computers don't have to be switched off all the time, because they can run in their 'stationary' mode for quite a long time. As Professor Snape can testify, the only thing you need is a good virus scanner, isn't that so, Professor?"
Snape grumbled a reply
"What is that, Professor? I don't think the others heard your answer." She shot him a look that would have crumbled his wand. "Last night I was called to Professor Snape's rescue. It seems the Weasley twins had left him a surprise. Now be sure to stay connected to the MagiWeb where I'll be posting regular updates of certifiable virus scanners. No one will have to suffer Professor Snape's fate that way."
McGonnagall raised her hand, "Anna, could you please explain what happened? I'm sure the others are more than happy to hear how you solved the problem." Minerva winked at her assistant, while Dumbledore slowly began to whistle one of Mozart's lesser known arias. Before she knew it, her whole class, with the notable exception of Severus Snape, was singing the final chorus of the 'Zauberflöte'. Without looking back, Snape stalked out of the classroom, leaving a stunned staff.
~ * ~ * ~
After about 3 weeks, Anna decided to see how well her class had listened to her that first lesson. She had the server send out a nicely programmed virus that would only penetrate the scanners of computers that hadn't been updated regularly. Keeping up with the Wealey's theme, this one was made to play Bizet's 'Carmen' continuously.
Later that same day, she had invited Minerva over for some tea. Surrounded by numerous computers, the Professor had managed to find a place in the window seat, overlooking the Quidditch pitch. "Anna, dear, I must congratulate you on your lesson plan. Sending out the virus was simply a hoot. You know I update my Agnes frequently, and she was smart enough to pick this one out. Then I decided to see if I could play those 'empeethrees' you mentioned, and I was surprised to find myself moved by the tragic death of Bizet's heroine."
"Minerva, I'm glad my little test worked. Isn't the last aria simply breathtakingly beautiful though? Fred and George have opened up a whole new world of music when they sent out the virus to Snape."
Suddenly the door swept open. "GREY! I'll have your hide for this!" Severus Snape burst through the door and cornered Anna in one swift move. "You have deliberately contaminated my computer." Both his arms were positioned over her head, completely trapping Anna between his body and the wall.
Not intimidated by him at all, she put her hands on her hips and glared at him. With an ice-cold voice she whispered, "Dear Professor Snape, if you don't make room for me to breath, I'll make sure a simple virus on your computer is the least of your worries. Now move!"
Slightly nerved by her expression, Snape allowed for some space to come between Anna and himself. Still looking deeply into her eyes, he saw the feisty spark that lit up her face. Surprised by the fact he hadn't already made her cry with his behavior he was scrutinizing her up close. She wasn't exactly a stunning beauty, but the grey-blue eyes showed a willingness to live that amazed him. He knew, from one of the computer courses, that whenever she smiled, the whole room was touched by the rays of an early spring sun. He had never met someone who could just as easily anger him as intrigue him.
Completely forgetting Anna wasn't the only one in the room when he entered, Severus took the young woman by her shoulders. He gently squeezed them, and leaned forward.
A loud noise threw him off balance. "I'm frightfully sorry for leaving you with this mess, Anna, but I have to run now. I was supposed to meet Miss Granger five minutes ago. I'll see you later, and Severus, I expect to see you at dinner."
Professor Minerva McGonnagall, cool under pressure, had accidentally turned over a tall stack of books, when she was trying to make her way out of the room without the other two occupants noticing her exit.
Snape's head immediately shot up, his hold on Anna's shoulder tightening noticeably. "What was Professor McGonnagall doing here?" He looked around panic stricken. "Anna? Do you plan to lure the entire staff of Hogwarts into your chambers?"
"Severus, will you please calm down. Remember my function? I am Minerva's assistant. She simply came in to congratulate me on my success. It seems all but one of my 'pupils' remembered my first lecture."
Snape sat down on a large box, looking uncharacteristically glum. "I must be the proverbial donkey in that class. Couldn't you have warned me, Anna?"
Carefully moving around the stacks she had created, Anna went in search of her wand. She had to make sure this was the same Professor Snape she had heard all the horror stories about.
Muttering under her breath, she overturned almost every box and bag in front of the left window, before trying to see if she could jump over her main server to reach the other side of her room.
Suddenly she felt his presence right behind her.
"Anything I can help with, Ms Grey?"
Anna whirled around and found herself once again caught between Snape's arms.
"Eh, no thank you, Professor Snape. I have simply misplaced my wand."
"You misplaced your wand? A wizard who misplaces her wand?" He started to laugh uncontrollably. His face was magically transformed, and Anne realized she was pleasantly surprised by Snape's looks.
"I'm afraid, I have already lost 2 wands. My parents don't even want to know when I lose my next one. They say I'm on my own now, but Mr. Olivander told me he could manage to make me another one. I guess I'm one of those wizards who seem to be able to handle different types of wands. You must be one who has had the same since childbirth."
Incessant ticking on the window interrupted their conversation. A small grey barn owl was clapping its wings to stay in sight of his owner. Anna opened the window and let the small bird inside.
"Hello there, Linus. What did you bring me?" The owl had a small scroll attached to its left paw. Opening the scroll Anna carefully read the script.
"O my. Severus, could you excuse me from dinner tonight. I have to fly out to a symposium on the latest version of our operating system. Would you? Thanks, you're dear." She raised herself to put a kiss on his cheek. "When I get back, would you like to have dinner with me sometime?"
Too stupefied to reply, Snape was still standing in Anna's office after she left.
FIN ... for now, I think.