Books on the Table
“Hey Giles, I’m taking my lunch now.” Anya poked her head into his office.
“Hmm? Oh, yes, of course.” Giles muttered, not looking up from the books spread across his desk.
“Right, so that means you need to watch the front desk.” Anya
slowly informed her boss.
“Ah, yes, clearly.” Giles glanced up. “I’m sorry, what was that?”
“Xander’s here. I’m taking my lunch break.” Anya rolled her eyes.
“Oh. Is it really that late?” Giles turned to his watch. “Good heavens. By all means, take your lunch break. I’ll be right out.” Giles carefully put bookmarks in all the books he had been referencing and headed out to the main part of the store. Anya had been in the middle of restocking some of the potion supplies when she left, so Giles picked up where she had left off. It wasn’t long before the bell over the door rang.
“May I help you?” Giles offered before turning around. “Oh hello there, Willow.”
“Hey.” The redhead waved. “How’s it going? It sounded last night you were about to go into research mode, so I figured I’d better stop by. Plus, I’m sort of running low on my smelly herbs.”
“Ah yes, research mode.” Giles sighed. “I’m not sure you can help much with that this time.”
“Why? Are all the books in Egyptian or something?”
“Well, no, actually most of the references are in English.” Giles mused.
“So, what needs looking up?” Willow asked, inching closer towards the spell ingredients section.
“Ah, it’s really nothing.” Giles answered, knowing that researching gribles would open up a whole new can of worms for the young Wiccan. “I’m sure you have better things to do with your time.”
“It’s no problem. My drama class got cancelled today, so I have all afternoon before I’m meeting Tara.” Willow watched as Giles anxiously reached for his glasses. Clearly there was more to this than he was letting on. “Are you okay? I mean, you look like you pulled a week of all-nighters in a row, and hey, you should leave those up to us college students. We’re the all-nighter experts after all. Although, I suppose technically Spike would be more of an all-nighter expert, what with the whole nocturnal thing.” Willow saw Giles blink in confusion. “So, anyway, what’s up? I can help, you know.”
“Really, I believe it’s under control.” From Willow’s arched brow, he could tell the girl wouldn’t take that for a final answer. “Well, if you really must help, the creature we’re looking for is called a grible. However, it’s not particularly demonic in nature, just rather rare to this area.”
“Oh, that’s what I looked up for Buffy last night.” Willow smiled at the recognition. “So do you want me to check online for stuff?”
“Yes, if you don’t mind.” Giles shrugged.
“Great.” Willow headed back to Giles’ office where his computer rested in its usual off state. Giles grabbed the empty box of candles and followed her. “Wow, it looks like you’ve been reading up on this all morning.” She eyed the stacks of books on his desk.
“Yes, well, I had several relevant sources here, so it seemed appropriate.”
“Um, where do you want me to put this stuff?” She nodded towards the stacks of books stacked over computer.
“Ah, just a moment.” Giles picked up the stack of books and moved them to his desk. “There, I trust you don’t need my assistance for anything else?”
“All good.” Willow was already booting up the computer and pulling a notebook out of her backpack.
“Excellent.” Giles had turned to leave, when another idea struck him. “Oh, and Willow, could you also do a search for floo powder, spelled F-L-O-O?”
“I have no idea what that means, but sure.” Willow smiled.
“Thank you.” Giles smiled just as the bell over the door chimed. “Well, I’m off to work.” He nodded towards the store.
“Sure, sure.” Willow waved him away, her face already fixated on the open browser window.
“I’ll never understand the attraction of that thing.” Giles muttered as he turned to the incoming customer. “Welcome to the Magic Box, how may I help you?”
“Go away.” Rupert muttered, keeping his focus on the books spread out on the library table.
“If you insist.” The sweet tones of a girl cut through Rupert’s concentration.
“Whoa! Wait a minute.” Rupert’s head snapped up. “I’m sorry, I thought you were Severus.”
“You know, I think that’s the first time anyone’s every confused me for that jerk.” Lily scrunched up her nose.
“Hey now, that’s my step-brother you’re talking about.” Rupert frowned.
“Really? I’m so sorry.” Lily blushed. “I thought that was just a bad rumor.”
“Yeah, well, believe it or not, sometimes rumors are true.” Rupert rolled his eyes. “So, what did you want to talk about?” He glanced from his book back to Lily, who was fidgeting nervously with the hem of her sweater.
“Um, well, some of the girls were thinking of starting a study group. You know it’s never too early to study for OWLs.”
“Actually, I think three years is a bit on the extreme side, don’t you?”
“Well, we would start by studying things for our classes now.” Lily glanced behind her. “And, well, if the group is started earlier, than we’ll already be in place by the time fifth year rolls around.”
Rupert craned his neck to look around Lily. Sitting at the table across the library from them were four girls, watching the conversation expectantly. “Are they all in your study group?”
Lily looked behind her again, making some sort of face before turning back and blushing. “Yup, that’s us.”
“Looks like a full table.”
“Well, we were really hoping to get somebody from every house, you know, to bring in different perspectives.”
“Ah.” Rupert glanced at the table again, trying not to blush himself at the sight of all the blushing girls. “I would think Narcissa would make a better choice from Slytherin, what with her being a … her.” He stuttered. Lily gagged, but quickly recovered, trying to turn it into a cough. “Are you alright?”
“Fine, I’m fine.” Lily was turning red as she tried to catch her breath. “Some how I doubt Narcissa wants to work with us. Something about mudblood traitors.”
“Oh, don’t mind that. They’re always saying that to me.” Rupert smiled at her. “So, um, this study group, when were you thinking of meeting?”
“Well, we were thinking after choir on …”
Lily was interrupted by a very loud cough right beside them. “Oh, hey Severus, have you met Lily?”
“Charmed, I’m sure. Look, Ru, where have you been? We’ve been looking for you for an hour.”
“I’ve been here in the library, working on that stupid paper for father. Why, what’s up?”
Severus glanced suspiciously at Lily, then leaned down and whispered into Rupert’s ear about the next step in the ongoing war with the Gryffindor boys.
“Oh, he didn’t really?” Severus nodded morosely. “Rookie’s got the subtlety of a hammer.” Rupert rolled his eyes. “Well, I’ll head on down as soon as I’m done here.”
“What were you talking about?” Severus glared at Lily, as she glanced back at the table of her friends nervously.
“Well, Lily was just asking me to join a study group they’re starting.”
“You can’t do that.” Severus quickly replied.
“What? Why not?”
“She’s a Gryffindor.” Severus muttered.
“So? There are going to be people from the other houses as well. If the other three houses are sharing notes, don’t you think at least someone from the Slyths should be in on it?”
“Well…” Severus looked like he was in a great deal of pain. “You just can’t.”
“Because…” Severus leaned over the table, so once again he could whisper in Rupert’s ear. “She’s a mudblood.”
“So?” Rupert wondered aloud.
“So, you’ll get a bad reputation if you’re seen around a mudblood. You’ve heard how Lucius has been since he got back from Vienna.”
“Sev, he’s always been like that.” Rupert rolled his eyes.
“Fine. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Severus gave his step-brother one last piercing stare before pivoting around.
“Fine, I’ll see you downstairs.” Rupert called after his retreating brother. “So about this study group, what time did you say?”
“Oh, um, after choir on Tuesdays and Thursdays.” Lily muttered, staring at the retreating form of Severus Snape. “We were going to meet in the Charms room.”
“Excellent. I’ll be there.”
“Are you sure you won’t get in trouble with…” She stared uneasily at the doors Severus had just stormed through.
“Heck, that’s part of the fun.” Rupert rolled his eyes. “Don’t mind Sev. He’s a bit high strung. So I’ll see you Tuesday?”
“Alright, Tuesday.” Lily smiled. “Thanks Rupert.”
As Lily went to rejoin her friends, Rupert waved at the girls who burst into giggles. “Ah yes,” he thought as he packed up his school supplies. Choir was the best decision he’d ever made.
A/N: Sorry the updates are slowing down a tad... we've hit midterm season.