“How the bloody hell should I know if he has a family history of heart disease?” Giles muttered as he tried to fill out the medical history for his step-brother. He almost didn’t notice the hand come around his shoulder and set down the Styrofoam cup in front of him. “Oh, thank you Buffy.”
“Rupert, are you going to be okay?” A tender voice asked.
Glancing up from the paperwork, Giles had to blink a few times to make sure his senses weren’t playing a trick on him. “Hello, Joyce, what brings you here?”
“Oh yes, sorry. I should have dropped her by her dormitory so that she could study. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t worry. I can drive her back.” Joyce sat down in the empty folding chair next to him. “We’re more worried about you. Buffy said your brother was brought in?” Joyce smiled at him in her way that promised that everything would be alright after a cup of cocoa and a chat.
“Yes, it was a bit of a shock, and I’ve been stuck in here filling out paperwork for the past hour when I really should be checking in on him.”
“An hour? That’s awful!” Joyce offered sympathetically.
“Well, it’s not the hospital’s fault. I’m afraid I’ve been out of touch too long to know his medical history or anything else they are asking about.”
“Oh.” Joyce patted him lightly on the shoulder. “Is there anything I could do to help?”
“Thank you for the offer, but I’m afraid at this point it’s just paperwork and waiting for him to wake up. If you could bring Buffy back to the school that would be a big help. I’m sorry for dragging her down here; I had just assumed it would be one of her friends in trouble.”
“That’s what Buffy said. Well, I better leave you to your paperwork. You’ll let me know if there’s anything I could do?” Joyce stood up slowly, giving Giles ample opportunity to call her back. Her maternal instincts screamed for her to stay and keep him company, but Rupert Giles was not her child and she knew he needed space.
“Actually, there is one thing.” Giles muttered, glancing up from the forms. “I’m afraid this may take quite awhile. Sev was never a good patient. Could either you or Buffy call Anya and ask her to cover the shop tomorrow?”
“Of course.” Joyce smiled. “Let me know if there’s anything else you need.”
“Thank you, Joyce. Buffy is quite lucky to have you for a mother.” Giles gave a weak smile and turned back to the papers, taking a sip of the burning hot tasteless tea. He circled a few answers he knew from the rare conversations he’d had with Sev and Gran about their history, and turned to the next page. “Occupation? Oh dear lord.” Giles muttered. After a moment he wrote in ‘Chemistry Professor’ and prayed yet again that Severus would never get to see these forms.
“Amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant.”
“Audio, audis, audit, audimus, auditis, audint.”
“Check your third person plural.” The wobbling voice
snapped. “Rupert again, impedire.”
“Impedio, impedis, impedit, impedimus, impediunt.” The boy replied, trying not to notice the sneer from the boy next to him.
“But that’s irregular.” The sneer quickly disappeared from the boy’s face.
“It was on your list. Begin.”
“Sum, es, est, sumus…” Severus glared at Rupert who was busy sticking his tongue out at him. “estis, sunt.” When ‘the hag’ didn’t correct him, he shot an imperious glare at the other boy.
“Possum, potes, potest, possumus, potestis, possunt.” Rupert rattled off, ignoring the glare from Severus.
The teacher, immune to the evil looks crossing the room, continued on with her lessons. “Very well, enough Latin for today. Rupert?”
“Yes, Mrs. Travers?” Rupert sweetly answered, trying to avoid the kick aimed for his shin.
“Please get out your composition and move to the front of the class for recitation.”
Rupert pulled a sheet of paper out of his desk and walked the two feet to the front of the classroom. He always thought it a bit pretentious to be reading to the class when the class consisted of just himself and the evil Sever-ella, but after the first week of private tutoring, he had learned not to share his opinion with their tutor.
“What I Want to be When I Grow Up, by Rupert Giles.” He muttered.
“Enunciate! Please Rupert, speak loudly and clearly.” Mrs. Travers interrupted with her exaggerated diction.
Rupert took a deep breath and then began again, this time practically shouting so that his voice would be heard in all corners of the small classroom. “When I grow up I want to begin my professional career as a fighter pilot for the Royal Air Force. Last year, Nana took me to see the stunt planes. They flew very high. Pilots must be very brave to fly in circles like that. I would like to be brave and fly very high.”
“However, when I am finished flying, I want a job on the ground. I would like to be a grocer. I would like to own a store that sells fresh fruit from all over the world. Many people would come to my store to get exotic fruit like kiwi and papaya. It would be wonderful to be a pilot and a grocer, but if I had to choose one, I would be a grocer because shopkeepers do not get blown up.” Having finished his short essay, he looked up expectantly. He thought Mrs. Travers would be impressed; not only had he described one job, he had described two, and used impressive words such as ‘exotic’.
Instead the teacher blinked her eyes a few times and coughed. “It is highly doubtful that you will be either of those, but at least your diction is improving. Place your paper on my desk. Severus?”
“Front of the class.”
Severus grabbed his paper and took two dramatic strides to the front of the class, where he abruptly pivoted to face the other student and his tutor. “What I Want to be When I Grow Up, by Severus Snape.” Mrs. Travers raised her eyebrow at the last name, but refrained from commenting this time.
“Since 1400, every Snape male has been a potions master. We have created several important potions. My father was the first potions master to brew Skele-grow. Snapes are powerful wizards and potions masters. Thus, I will be a powerful wizard and potion master.” He bowed his head and placed the sheet of paper on the tutor’s desk.
“Is that the extent of your composition, Severus?”
“Very well. Tonight you are each to pen a response to the following question: Is magic good?” The boys scrawled the question on the top of their assignment sheets. “I expect a single thesis statement with at least four supporting sentences. I also expect you to turn in your edited copy of yesterday’s writing assignment.” She stated while handing back the previous night’s writing assignment. Both boys’ papers were littered with red marks correcting spelling, grammar, and penmanship. “In addition, I expect you to have finished all the long division problems from this morning and to have worked on your geography lessons. Do not forget that your country reports are due this Friday. I believe I assigned Norway to Severus and Egypt to Rupert.”
“Yes ma’am.” The boys chorused. This was their favorite part of the day. Whenever Mrs. Travers reviewed their homework it meant it was almost time to leave.
“Very well. You are both dismissed.”
The boys barely got out their “Thank you, Mrs. Travers,” before bolting out the doorway and down the hall. Normally they ran in opposite directions to their rooms, but this time Severus followed his step brother. For the past week, Rupert had acted oddly and Severus was set on finding out what was up, just in case he could get some blackmail out of it. Rupert turned to the back hallway and went running up the servant staircase. Technically they weren’t forbidden from this part of the manor, but Severus knew his mother did not approve of them going back this direction. Still, if Rupert was going that way, he could too. Dashing up the stairs, he just caught a glance of Rupert running into the ballroom. He ran in pursuit only to find the ballroom deserted, he was about to give up, when he noticed one of the curtains billowing oddly. Quietly he stalked towards the curtain, to find it covering one of the sliding glass doors that led to the balcony. Looking both ways for any signs of Rupert, he took a tentative step onto the balcony.
“Gotcha!” Severus found himself face down on the cement balcony with a body on top of him. “Why were you following me?”
“Where were you going?”
“I asked you first.”
“Well, that’s my answer. Now, get off me!”
“Not ‘til you tell me why you were following me.”
“Why would I want to follow you? You just want to be a grocer.”
“Yeah, well, that’s a gazillion times better than being a chemist.”
“I said potions master.” Severus rolled, causing Rupert to fall off him.
“Potions master! Not that you would understand.”
“Hey, I understand plenty. You want to be just like your father and blow yourself up with your chemistry set.”
“He did not blow himself up!”
“You’re a git!” As the two boys tousled on the ground, two owls circled over head, sighting their targets but not willing to get close. Finally, the larger owl gave a screech that halted the fight.
“Bloody hell!” Rupert’s head jerked up to see the large screech owl staring at him.
“Don’t swear.” Severus absently commented, just as surprised to see the owls. “Besides, it’s not like you’ve never seen a post-owl before. Oh, that’s right. You’re a muggle.” Severus sneered at the fellow ten-year-old, who had yet to figure out what that meant.
“I am not.”
“Muggles don’t get owls.” Severus stood up, and brushed off his clothes lightly before offering an arm to the owls. One of them flew right to his arm and perched. “See, only special people get owls.”
“Oh yeah?” Rupert got up and dusted himself just like Severus and put out his arm hoping it would work. He was just as surprised as his step-brother when the second owl landed on his arm. “Well, I guess I’m not a muggle, then.” Rupert replied haughtily.
The gloat went to deaf ears however. Severus was quickly scanning the envelope addressed to ‘Severus Snape, Westbury Manor’. “Merlin, I’m in.” Severus whispered in awe. He had been waiting for this day for nearly a decade it felt like, and here it was, his passport back to the wizarding world.
“I’m accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.” Rupert read aloud from his own letter.
“What? That’s impossible! You’re not a wizard!”
“It says so right here.” Rupert held out his letter. “I get to study charms, and spells, and chemistry too!”
“I’m speaking to mother about this!” Severus stalked back into the ballroom, barely shaking the owl off his arm before slamming the door shut.
“Sorry about that.” Rupert shrugged at the owl. “He’s a git. Well, you two have a good flight back to wherever you came from.” Rupert patted the owls on the head and headed towards the door, hoping they’d get the message to fly away. As they took off, Rupert turned the doorknob, only to find that it wouldn’t turn. He was locked out on the
“I’m going to get you, Severus Snape!”