“I don’t suppose you’d care to put me out of my misery?” Severus muttered, having finished the cup of Gatorade.
“I’m afraid that’s out of the question. The nurse said that they couldn’t give you any more sedatives until the neurologist has taken a look at you.” Giles replied, placing the empty cup down.
“You don’t need to sedate me before you kill me.”
“What a Gryffindor thing to say. Shall I have you bite down on a bullet while I amputate your leg next?” Giles rolled his eyes.
“A bullet. A flying projectile that muggles use to… oh for goodness sakes, I’m not going to kill you, so quit being so maudlin.”
“You may as well.”
“You figure it out.” Most people looking at Snape would see the
scowl and think bitter or aloof; Giles took one look at the set of the eyes and lips and groaned.
“Quit pouting. It’s unbecoming of you.”
“Yes, well, it’s also quite unbecoming to wake up and find yourself wrapped in plaster. It’s quite ridiculous and shows just what sort of medieval medical practices muggles believe in.”
“It’s a pity that your tongue was the only part of you not injured in the accident.” Giles quipped. “The casts are to keep your bones from breaking any further, and are hardly a medieval practice.”
“When was the last time you saw a modern wizard wearing armor made from paper and glue?” Severus’ eyebrow arched, daring Giles to contradict him.
“I’m sure it’s so much better to feed them leeches.”
“I was kidding.”
Giles groaned. Although it had been years since he had last spoken to his step-brother, it appeared that they were picking up right where they left off- with an argument. “Look, are you in pain? Would you like me to fetch you a doctor?”
“I’m fine.” Severus croaked.
“Clearly,” Giles cast a meaningful glance the extensive casts and monitors. “Would you like me to get you something more to drink?”
“If I just cast a quick…” Severus tried to lift his wand with his relatively uninjured hand, but Giles pushed the hand back down.
“If I were you, I would avoid any wand spells in your state.”
“I’m not some inept first year, Rupert. I have done basic healing spells after being hit with Cruciatus before.”
“So you were hit with a Cruciatus? I was afraid that was part of the problem.” Giles ignored the mumbling about incompetent medics who couldn’t detect traces of an Unforgiveable even if it was cast on their arses. “Besides that wasn’t what I was referring to. You’re near a hellmouth, which would make any spell unstable.”
“Merlin’s beard, I thought that was my hallucination.” Severus muttered.
“And even if you were in a safer location, I question the logic of using traceable magic in your condition. Who cursed you and are they likely to follow you?”
“Yes, I believe I already covered that point.”
“I’m in California?”
Before Giles could answer that question, there was a quick knock on the door and the doctor entered. “Ah, Mr. Giles, I see you’re awake.”
Severus glanced up at his step-brother, who pleaded with his eyes to just play along. “Yes?”
“Are you calmer now?” The doctor asked cautiously nearing the bed.
“Calmer than what?”
“Ahem, you sort of…” Giles made a choking gesture and nodded towards the doctor, “… right when you woke up the first time.”
“Oh.” Severus thought for a minute before answering. “I must have been disoriented.” He wondered how disoriented he still was.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, how much pain do you think you’re in now?” The doctor asked.
Severus glanced up at his step-brother clearly expressing contempt for the primitive muggles. “Please answer the question.” Giles whispered.
“Seven.” Severus poured as much contempt as possible into those two syllables.
“Ah.” The doctor made some notes on the clipboard, glancing as much at the computer screens as he did at the patient. Finally he turned his attention to Severus. “Now, Mr. Giles, you’ve undergone quite a trauma in the past 48 hours. Understandably, you’re going to be in a lot of pain as your body heals itself. We want to keep you under observation here for another few days, make sure you don’t fall back into a coma or have any complications, and then your brother said he would watch after you until your bones heal.” Giles gradually tuned the doctor’s lecture out, and was guessing his brother was doing the same by the glazed look on his face.
“Oi, Rupe, what are you working on?” Damon entered the dorm room, noisily as usual.
“That essay for DADA.” Rupert replied, not even glancing up from his book.
“I thought you finished the Bermuda Triangle paper last night.”
“So what are you working on?”
“The Hellmouth paper.”
“But that’s not due for another week.” Rolling his eyes at his housemate’s odd habits, Damon went to his trunk and began pawing through it.
“Hey Damon, hey Rupert.” Evan entered a few minutes later. “Are you guys going too?”
“Going to what?” Rupert peeked up from the book. At the same time, Damon called out “Yeah, just let me fetch my sweater.”
“Quidditch tryouts before dinner; everyone wants to go and see who will replace Goyle and Bulstrode after the accident. I heard Malfoy is even trying out this time around.”
“Well, I suppose he’s better than most of us in the class.” Rupert shrugged.
“He’s not going to make it.” Evan snickered. “There hasn’t been a first year on a house team since before my father went here.”
“He could be a reserve.” Damon replied, head still buried in his trunk. “Ah, there it is!”
“Yeah right, like Malfoy would settle for being a reserve.”
“It would get him on the team if there was another injury.” Damon yanked at a sleeve, spilling his trunk contents on the floor.
“I suppose. So are you coming?” Evan turned back to Rupert.
“Nah. I’m not really in the mood for Lucy’s tantrum if he doesn’t make it, and if he does make it, undoubtedly we’ll all hear about it soon enough.”
“Suit yourself, but you’ll be the only one left in here.” Evan shrugged as Damon pulled his sweater on over his head and tried to shove everything back in his trunk.
“Yeah, well, wish him luck for me.” Rupert waved the roommates away, and went back to his book. Just when he found the sentence where he had left off, the door opened again.
“I still think we should all support him.” Argentius whined.
“I don’t know. My cousin is trying out, and he’s way bigger than Malfoy.” Rupert rolled his eyes at that comment. Was there anyone in this house not related to the Lestranges?
“Bigger isn’t always better.” Argentius argued back, and Rupert couldn’t help but wonder if that was just wishful thinking on Rookie’s part.
“It is when you’re trying out for a beater.” Rastaban rolled his eyes as though it were the obvious conclusion. “What about you, Sev? Are you going to root for Malfoy at the tryouts?”
“We’ll have to see.” Rupert glanced up when he heard his step-brother’s voice. “After all, it’s more important that Slytherin have a winning team than to have a team with our roommate on it. If Malfoy’s that good, then I’ll cheer for him.”
“But you don’t think he is, do you?” Rastaban pushed.
“It’s not for me to decide, is it?” Severus shrugged off the question. He flipped open his trunk and pulled out his heavier weight robe, before noticing Rupert sitting quietly reading.
“Are you coming?”
“I don’t think so.” Rupert just shrugged.
“What?” All three boys squawked in disbelief.
“I just thought I’d work on my DADA essay tonight, is all.” Rupert looked around at the boys, wondering what was so off.
“You two catch up with Rosier.” Severus ordered absently. Argentius and Rastaban grabbed their robes and headed for the door, following the command without a second thought. “Grab your sweater, Rupert.”
“What? I said I wasn’t going.”
“And I’m telling you that’s not acceptable.”
“Because it is a house tradition to observe the rites of quidditch whether you intend to participate or not. It is important that you are seen there.” Severus quietly informed his step-brother, trying not to lose his temper. Now that the cat was out of the bag, Severus was even more uptight about Rupert fitting into the Slytherin mold.
“It’s not even the real tryouts, its just replacements because those stupid fifth years got caught with firewhiskey.”
“Oh that’s not all they got caught with.” Severus smirked.
Rupert ignored the knowing gleam in Severus’ eyes, and kept on with his whining. “I went to the first tryouts; why do I have to see this one?”
“Other than the fact that everyone will expect everyone else in the House to be there? Can you really claim you’re working on something more important?”
“Maybe,” Rupert glanced up, hoping his pouty eyes would be as effective on Severus as there were with Nana. Severus did that thing with his brow that let Rupert know he had better elaborate or be prepared to dodge hexes. “So you know how I write father every week to tell him what we’re studying?”
“Are you in trouble from that Transfiguration test we got back?”
“What? No, I aced that. It’s just, when I told him that we were covering Hellmouths next week in DADA, for the first time since I’ve come here, he actually sounded interested. He sent this.” Rupert held up the book he had been reading.
“So that’s what the owl was here for.” Severus muttered to himself. “He sent you a book on Hellmouths? Wicked.” Severus eyed the aged leather binding covetously.
“Exactly. It must be important if he’s bothering to answer my letter.”
“I don’t think Professor Bones is expecting anything more than a page saying that Hellmouths are bad, they make magic bad, and you shouldn’t ever go there even if your life depended on it.” Snape critically answered. “She hardly holds the highest of standards for the first years.”
“I know, but he actually asked for a copy of my report. It has to be good.”
“You don’t think he’s just reacting to that accident in charms?”
“He doesn’t know about the accident in charms, and you won’t tell him.” Rupert glared at his step-brother, hoping he wouldn’t have to bring up their long list of reciprocal blackmail material.
“Alright, so say your father really cares that you read up on Hellmouths. Do you really have to do it now? It’s quidditch try-outs.”
“Is it really that important? I mean, why is quidditch such a big deal?”
“Merlin, you are such a muggle.” Severus groaned. “At this rate, you may as well be a Hufflepuff muggle. Don’t you understand that this is more than just quidditch?”
“No, I’m sorry, I don’t see.”
“Look, if you don’t go to the tryouts, the House will see and you’ll have hell to pay. Now, realistically speaking, what are the odds of you running into someone from the House before you die? Almost certain. Let’s compare that to the odds of you, or any wizard in their right mind, going to a Hellmouth? Never. Think like a Slytherin, just this once, and grab your sweater, or I’ll tell Gran.”
“Oh no you don’t!”
“Watch me.” The stare off ended quickly as soon as Rupert realized that Severus wasn’t kidding about quidditch being a life or death situation.
“That’s a good snake.” Severus smirked as Rupert locked and warded his book into his trunk and grabbed his woolen sweater.
“I still think I would be better off reading up on the Hellmouth.”
“It’s halfway around the world; I’m sure it can wait until after you’ve been seen at the quidditch tryouts. It’s not like we’ll ever go there.”