Not a Kneazle
“You know, if you keep drinking pepper-up like that, you’ll be up all night.”
“So I’ll have to sleep through the day tomorrow. What a pity.” Severus drawled. “If it could knock me out that would be even better, but I’ll take what I can get.”
“Why didn’t you say so? I could brew dreamless sleep.”
“No you can’t.”
“Yes I can. I got an O in potions, same as you.”
“And how many years has it been since you’ve brewed on a regular basis?” Giles remained silent. “That’s what I thought. If you mess up on pepper-up, the worst side effect would be hiccups. If you mess up on dreamless sleep, it could be lethal. Don’t think you can get rid of me on accidental death charges so easily.”
“You’re too paranoid. When have I ever tried to kill you?”
“Do you want me to include all the times you failed, or just the times you were caught?” Severus quirked his brow in what Giles knew was a sign that he was joking, or at least that’s what Giles had taken it to mean over the years. “Besides, it’s not paranoia if everyone really is out to get you.”
“Who’s out to get you?” Giles immediately jumped on the opportunity in the conversation.
Severus noticed his gaffe, but was bailed from his attempted cover-up by a light tap on the door. “Come in!” He called out.
“You know, I would have thought a relative of Giles would know better than to issue invitations at any old knock.” A slim blond girl who looked like the typical American teenager- half starved and wearing far too little clothing- entered.
“Ah, Buffy, I suppose I should introduce you properly to my brother. Severus, this is Buffy.”
“Severus? And I thought Rupert was a cruel thing to name a kid.” Buffy muttered.
“Whereas Buffy is a perfectly acceptable name?” Severus retorted.
“Yes, well, Buffy, I don’t suppose you brought the book?” Giles tried a distraction before the slayer and his step-brother could come to blows.
“Nope. But, I did call Willow and she said that she knew where it was and could bring it by the shop first thing in the morning.”
“Do you think it’s safe to leave it for the night?” Giles frowned thoughtfully.
“Oh please, those things were so not a threat.”
“Perhaps, I would just feel better knowing that for sure.”
“Chill Giles, they’re probably just going to spend the rest of the night eating stale popcorn anyway.”
“Well, could you provide me with a description of them all the same?”
“Sure.” Buffy jumped up to sit on the counter. “Do you wanna do the whole patrol run down, or just the beasties?”
“How much more did you encounter on your patrol?” Giles pulled out his journal and an ink pen.
“Just a newbie trying to get lucky outside the movie theater.” Buffy shrugged, trying not to look at the man on the bed who was staring at her intensely.
“Ah, well, how about we focus on the beasts then. How many were there?”
“Before I tried to slay them, or after?” Giles rolled his eyes. “What? It’s a legitimate question. I could hear three of them in the bins behind the theater. One came out to investigate. It definitely was not a normal raccoon or anything else I knew of, so I figured the decapitation route would work, since it normally does. I was about to look for the other two, when I noticed that both the head and the body had regenerated, so there were now two things. When it saw me, both halves ran for the trash cans and jumped inside. I figured it was so not worth following them in, especially if I didn’t know how to kill them. So, there were three, at least, and now there are four.”
“Ah.” Giles was writing furiously in his book. “And how would you describe their appearance?”
“Well, they were furry, like a cat, but not a cat. There were these spiny things on the back, and the eyes were red, sort of like when you get your film developed at those cheap places that don’t have the red eye reduction thing.”
“Well, it sounds roughly like a kneazle.” Giles speculated.
“No it doesn’t.” Severus interrupted.
“Yes it does.”
“It’s a magical beast the size of a house cat. That sounds roughly like a kneazle.”
“Kneazles don’t have spines.”
“No, but they have yellow tails that could be mistaken for spines in a dark alley.”
“It’s not a kneazle.” Severus insisted.
“Look Mr. Giles-wanna-be, Giles is a better watcher than you’ll ever be, so just accept that you’re wrong and move on.”
“Thank you, Buffy.” Giles blushed.
“I see you’ve trained your slayer well, Rupert. She can’t identify a basic magical beast at a meter away, but will defend your virtue at the drop of a hat. Well done. Maybe Quentin will give you a gold star.”
“Hey!” Buffy interjected.
“Now, Buffy, don’t pay any attention to anything he says. Obviously, the painkillers aren’t nearly strong enough.” Rupert glared at his brother.
“At least I have an excuse. You, on the other hand should be able to tell the difference between a kneazle and a house cat.”
“For the record, I did not say that it was a kneazle, just that it sounded like a kneazle.”
“Wow, you two really are related.” Buffy muttered, earning her matching looks of disbelief from the Englishmen. “What?”
“What are those?” Rastaban asked Rupert, as they left the Slytherin Commons room on the way to lunch.
“In your hand?”
“Oh these?” Rupert held up the stack of flash cards he’d been going through. “Just note cards.”
“How peculiar.” Rastaban took one off the stack and flipped it over, reading the information off the back. “Is this for DADA?”
“The list of magical creatures was ridiculously long. I thought the flash cards would help me study.” Rupert rolled his eyes, feeling rather foolish.
“What, like to quiz yourself?” Rastaban thought about it for a minute. “Ask me one.”
“Um.” Rupert shuffled the cards then pulled one out. “Looks like smoke, leads travelers astray with a fake light.”
“Hinkypunk. Ask me a hard one.”
Rupert shuffled again. “Reptilian, can paralyze with a glance.”
“Merlin, I should know this.” Rastaban muttered. “Ashwinder?”
“Basilisk.” Rupert answered, flipping over the card.
“That class is going to be impossible this year.”
“Yeah, I thought Professor Bones was bad, but this new guy is evil.”
“Well, it is the dark arts.”
“What are you guys talking about?” Damon asked, as Rupert and Rastaban joined the other second years at the table.
“The new DADA professor.”
“Oh, isn’t he a piece of work? Where does Dumbledore get these professors anyway?”
“I don’t know how he expects us to memorize all those creatures in a week.” Rookie moaned.
“I much preferred Professor Bones methodology. I think writing essays is far more constructive than memorizing lists of trivia. You can hardly explore unique topics if all you’re being graded on is minute details.”
“Sev, mate, you need to get a life.” Evan patted the frowning Slytherin on the back. “What’s that?” Evan pointed at the pile of cards by Rupert’s plate.
“Just some flashcards.” Rupert muttered.
“Really? Let’s see.” Evan picked up the stack. “Resembles a pink mushroom, carnivorous, and eaten by gnomes?”
“Horklump.” Severus quickly replied.
“What about: large aquatic serpent, extended neck, can disappear.”
“Kelpie.” Severus shot back.
“Really?” Damon frowned.
“That’s what the back says.” Evan shrugged. “Okay, how about this one. Size of a house cat…”
“Kneazle.” Rupert cut in.
Evan rolled his eyes, and kept reading, “Yellow spines, red eyes, and regenerative.”
Severus was about to answer when Lucius sat down at the table. “What are you up to?” He asked, immediately prepared to take over the discussion.
“We’re just using Rupert’s cards to study for the DADA exam.” Evan shrugged.
“You made study cards?” Lucius cast an appraising glance at Rupert. “Can I see?” He asked while grabbing the stack out of Evan’s hand. “What’s the size of a cat, with yellow spines, red eyes, and regenerates?”
“Gribles.” Severus muttered.
“It’s not like Professor Morpho is actually going to ask us this. It only occurs in the New World.” Lucius snarled, annoyed that Severus knew the answer when he didn’t.
“It was on the list.” Rupert offered with a shrug.
“Yeah, well, study cards are a muggle thing. You don’t see the rest of us running around with cards, do you?” Lucius sneered.
“Well, no, but it’s a long list.”
“Slytherins don’t need muggle methods.”
“Right, because inbreeding helps with the memory.” Rupert rolled his eyes.
“Hey now, watch where you’re taking that argument.” Evan cut in, figuring that Rupert was probably the only one of the bunch not related at least at the third cousin level.
“This is a disgrace.” Lucius waved the stack of cards around.
“You know, Lucius, just because you didn’t come up with an idea, doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea.” Rupert shot back. The Slytherins gasped, and leaned away from the feuding pair. If they were honest with themselves, the boys probably would admit they liked Rupert better, but they’d never bet against Lucius in a fight.
“I know that. There were plenty of good wizarding ideas that came before I was even born. I’m just saying, a true Slytherin wouldn’t resort to muggle methods and pretend they were a good idea.” Lucius replied haughtily, trying to keep his face from betraying his emotions.
“How peculiar.” Severus observed in that detached voice that always warned his bunkmates that he was about to spring a trap. “I had always heard that a Slytherin would resort to any method to get what he wanted… muggle or otherwise. Thank you for clearing that up, Lucius.” Lucius glared at Severus. “If they offend you so much, why don’t you give Rupert back his cards? You wouldn’t want them to soil your manicure.”
“You can have your stupid cards, mudblood.” Lucius threw the stack at Rupert, watching the cards scatter in the air. “And if I ever see those muggle cards out again, I’ll burn them up.”
“Fine, your loss.” Rupert rolled his eyes as he picked up the deck of notecards.
“So how about that quidditch game?” Rookie nervously offered.
A/N: So, I've gotten several comments that things in the now aren't happening as fast as things in the past. There's sort of two reasons for that. The most obvious is that, well, with Severus in a hospital bed, there's a limit to how much trouble he can really get into. The actual reason is that I'm trying to go through 7+ years of history in the past while only a week or so happens in the present. Sorry if the pace isn't quite what y'all want, but hopefully it will make sense by the end.