“Buffy! You’re actually here.” Willow entered her dorm room, surprised to find her roommate actually studying at her desk. Well, the term ‘studying’ was being used loosely, Willow realized when she recognized the reading material was actually a Cosmo, and instead of a wielding a highlighter, Buffy was applying a coat of clear nail polish.
“Hey Wills! Long time no see.” Buffy grinned up at her roommate. “How’s it going?” Willow blushed. “So I take it that means things are going well on the Tara front.”
“You could say that.” Buffy chuckled at Willow’s shy smile.
“I’m glad you’re happy. You’re happy right? Not that I think you wouldn’t be happy. I mean she seems like a really nice girl.” Buffy frowned. She was used to Xander talking about girls with her, but wasn’t quite sure what to do about Tara.
“Oh she is! Really nice, that is.” Willow smiled. “I’m glad you’re
trying to get along. It means a lot to me.”
“You’re one of my bestest buds. No boy, girl, or slime demon is going to change that.” Buffy answered with a grin. “Oh, and speaking of slime demons, what time is it?”
“Slime demons? There’s another slime demon? I thought we took care of tall, dark, and slimy last month.”
“I meant it more in the metaphorical sense.” Buffy frowned going over the words again. “Or not… I think that Lit paper is still sort of invading my brain. Anyway, I just meant that I’m supposed to meet Giles at the Magic Box at ten. Is it getting close?”
“It’s not even nine.”
“Sweet, I can get another coat on, and still have time for it to dry.” Buffy admired her nails. “You can’t believe how hard slaying is on my nails.” She joked.
“Maybe you should write to Dear Abby. She may even know how to get vampire dust out of your clothes.” Willow teased, collapsing on her bed. “So how are things with Riley?”
“Oh you know.” Buffy shrugged. “He’s having a bad semester. He’s going out with the guys tonight to do guy things. Maybe male bonding will help.”
“Yeah, sometimes guys just need to grunt and eat corn nuts and stuff.” Willow nodded thoughtfully.
“So are you just hanging around tonight? It’s kinda slow lately, so we could go to the Bronze later,” Buffy thought about the last few times she had gone to the Bronze, “or not.”
“Nah, I’m thinking I’ll call it an early night.” Willow shrugged, pulling one of her heavier textbooks out of her bag.
“Yeah, maybe I’ll go over to the Magic Box early and get started before Giles gets there so I can go home earlier. I can’t even remember the last time I went to bed before two.”
“Well, actually, now that you’re in college, is that really that odd?” Willow mused. “So hey, how are you going to get into the Magic Box if Giles isn’t there?”
“He gave me a key. Just in case I needed something for slaying and he wasn’t around to unlock it and stuff.”
“What are you thinking?”
“What do you mean?”
“You’ve got that ‘ooh, I’ve got a secret plan’ look.” Willow blushed but didn’t deny it. “Wiiillloooow,” Buffy whined, “tell me what you’re thinking.”
“It probably won’t work.”
“What won’t work?” Willow’s forehead wrinkled as she thought through her plan. “If you don’t tell me, I’ll tickle it out of you!” Buffy teased.
“Okay, so does your key open every thing at the Magic Box? Like, say, Giles’ office.”
“I think so.” Buffy frowned. “Why? What’s in Giles’ office?”
“Could you get into his desk?”
Buffy rolled her eyes. “Hello, slayer strength.”
“Oh right.” Willow giggled.
“Okay, now I’m really curious. What’s up?”
“So today, I was over there, looking something up for Giles’ and there was this book on his desk. I picked it up to read it, but Giles took it away.”
“Well, he probably had a good reason for it. Some of his books can be kinda dangerous.” Buffy’s mind immediately went to their problems with Moloch the demon in a book. She so didn’t want to have to deal with another one of those.
“No, I thought that too when he locked it in his desk. I asked him if it was a spell book.” Willow grinned. “He said it was his school yearbook.”
“He brought his yearbook to the Magic Box?”
“He probably didn’t realize he had it with all the boxes of books he brought over.”
“Do you think he wore tweed back then? Did they even make bell bottoms in tweed?” Buffy got a wicked smile on her face.
“I don’t know; there’s only one way to find out.”
“Well, if we left now, there’d still be another hour before he got there, and it’s not like it’s a dangerous book.”
“It might be a danger to his image. Do you think he was rebel-y and that’s why he didn’t want me to look through it?” Willow pondered.
“I bet he was a total nerd and was just too embarrassed.” Buffy grinned.
“Hey! There’s nothing wrong with nerds.”
“No, of course not.” Buffy agreed. “But I wonder if his picture was that awful.”
“So…” Willow’s mouth twitched, as if she wanted to say something but hadn’t quite worked up the nerve.
“So, I don’t suppose you want to hang out with me at the Magic Box before training?” Buffy answered, as innocently as possible.
“That sounds like a great plan. After all, it has been kinda quiet lately. It wouldn’t hurt to do some research on that.” Willow grinned. Buffy put away her nail polish and grabbed her work out bag as Willow put away her books. “Ooh!” Willow said as they were nearly out the door. “I have to bring my camera. Xander’s going to want to see this.”
Severus looked up from his porridge, spoon halfway to his mouth. Small blue lights darted through his field of vision. “Do I even want to know?” Evan shrugged and grinned, lifting the camera up to his face again. “Click that button at me again, and you will be wearing this porridge.” Severus warned his housemate.
There was a sigh, but no further flashes so Severus thought Evan must have gotten the message. As soon as Rupert sat down next to him, however, the flash was back. Before Severus could snarl, Rupert had grabbed the camera from Evan. “Oi, Rosier, what are you doing with a camera? I thought you were too good for muggle toys.”
“That’s not a muggle camera!” Evan insisted reaching for the camera, which Rupert held just out of reach.
“Oh, I don’t know about that. This looks pretty muggle to me. In fact I bet if I just…”
“Don’t! You’re going to break it!” Evan yelped.
“Well now, you should have thought of that before you started taking pictures of people first thing in the morning.” Rupert snarled, threatening to open the back latch to expose all the film. “Now, what do you say to putting the lens cap back on and not bringing it out again while we’re eating?”
“Fine.” Evan grabbed the camera out of Rupert’s hands. “Some people are just too high strung.”
“So I take it you slept well.” Severus greeted his step-brother in his usual sarcastic tone.
“Like a baby…” Rupert piled his plate with breakfast. “A baby who has whooping cough, an ear infection, and insomnia, that is.”
“I told you not to stay up all night.”
“It’s not my bloody fault. That damned Travers is sending me stuff through father now. If I had known that he and his Council would have followed me here, I might have just gone to Sherborne and gotten this done and over with.”
“Well, I suppose it’s not unexpected that you’ve drawn his attention. You’re so young, and … impressionable.” Severus jokingly leered.
Rupert sputtered. “The idea that Travers would…”
“Travers would what?” Damon interrupted, finding his place across the table from Rupert.
“Really? Because I don’t see a lot of other Travers here.”
“There is a life outside of Hogwarts you know, complete with a full array of Travers.” Severus replied.
“Yeah well, I hardly expect you to know any of them.” Damon scoffed.
“Touchy, touchy.” Evan tsked. “If I was Vablatsky, I’d say all this negative energy was a sign.”
“If you were Vablatsky, you’d be so high on the fumes of your incense that you wouldn’t notice if your clothes were on backwards.” Rupert shot back.
“Proclaimed Slytherin’s own muggle-born Rupert Giles, third year.” Evan mused, holding his hands up as though he were framing a picture.
“What’s with you? You’re acting like the Gryffs poisoned your water again.” Rupert rolled his eyes.
“Nah, I’ve just found my mission in life.”
“Don’t ask.” Severus muttered just as Rupert questioned “Mission in life?”
“I’m joining the yearbook staff.”
“I told you not to ask.”
“The yearbook staff? Isn’t that rather … Hufflepuff of you? Don’t tell me Rupert’s stunning performance with the choir has inspired you.” Damon teased.
“I’ll have you know that Slytherins have held the head editor position six times in the past decade.” Evan said shoveling some food in his mouth, as if finally remembering what the point of breakfast was. “So,” he took another bite. “I figure, why can’t the next one be me?”
“Well, for one thing, you’d have to work with a bunch of Hufflepuffs.” Damon answered.
“By next year they’ll be my minions.” The group laughed at Evan, trying not to choke on their food. “What, you don’t think I can handle a minion army?”
“I would say there’s a fine line between minion army and the Hogwarts yearbook staff, but that wouldn’t be right.” Rupert replied. “It’s more of a gaping chasm.”
“Fine, mock me if you will, but when I have the power you’ll all be begging me to acknowledge your presence.” Evan scoffed.
“So, do you plan on wielding the power of the yearbook for good or for evil?” Rupert couldn’t help but bait the Slytherin. It was so easy to pick on Evan. He was good looking much in the way Lucius was, but while Lucius pulled it off as aristocratic, Evan had always looked feminine. He was taller than Rookie, but still shorter than the other boys, and most of the Slytherin girls as well. When Rupert thought of Evan, he pictured a terrier whose incessant yip didn’t fool anyone that it wasn’t a pampered, groomed pouch with ribbons in its hair.
“You don’t get it, do you? The media is power. History only remembers those that were written about. By controlling the press you control not just what people think now, but what people think centuries into the future.” Evan defended his position.
“And the school yearbook is just a springboard to controlling all of
the media?” Severus paused to think about that for a moment as Evan nodded vigorously. “You’re a fool, Rosier. The media will be nothing but a pawn for the real leaders.”
“That’s not true!” Evan protested. “My mother says…”
“Rosier, as your friend, I have to stop you now.” Damon interrupted. “Third years don’t quote their mothers unless they want to find themselves hanging from the quidditch goals in just their skivvies.”
“Fine, but just you wait.”
“Care to make a friendly wager on that?” Rupert smirked.
“What did you have in mind?” Evan asked suspiciously.
“Well, if you think that media is really where the power is, how about we test that theory.” Rupert glanced across the Great Hall, to see just one of the Marauders had actually arrived for breakfast this morning. “Over there, see Lupin?”
“What about Lupin?”
“Well, if you’re really so powerful, I want you to get a picture of Lupin doing something incredibly asinine and embarrassing.”
“That’s not so hard.”
“You have to get it actually into the yearbook.”
“But McGonagall’s the yearbook advisor!”
“Are you the minion or the general, Rosier?”
“Fine. I’ll do it.” Evan quickly finished his glass of pumpkin juice and left the table, off on some sort of errand before class.
“That still doesn’t answer his point.” Severus muttered.
“Which of his many?” Rupert asked in between bites.
“His argument was that the media controlled power over posterity.”
“No, that’s covered.” Rupert swallowed some pumpkin juice, wishing he had something stronger to keep him awake through class. “We never set the terms of the bet, so he doesn’t win until he can show twenty years from now that people only remember Lupin for whatever embarrassing photo he sneaks into the book. It’s completely testable; Rosier will just fail the test.”
“He’ll never get it through McGonagall. She always favors the Gryffs and Lupin is probably her absolute favorite.” Damon summed up the situation.
“No, he won’t succeed.” Severus agreed.
“Of course not. But, won’t it be fun to see him try?” Rupert grinned. “So who’s ready for a rousing potions class?”