“Are you sure we should be doing this?”
“It was your idea.” Buffy turned to stare at her friend, who was suddenly getting a case of cold feet.
“I know, but breaking and entering, it’s kinda against the law.” Willow muttered.
“True, but is it really breaking and entering if I’ve got a key?” Buffy answered, as she opened the back door to the Magic Box.
“I guess not. It’s just all dark in there and stuff.”
“That’s easy enough to fix.” Buffy grinned flipping on the light switch. “Besides, I was going to come by here in half an hour anyway. We’re just early, for once.”
“Wow, Giles will be so impressed, except not really, because hopefully he’s not here to see it.”
“Look Willow, if you don’t want to see the yearbook, we don’t have to see the yearbook.”
“No. No, no, it’s not that.” Willow quickly denied. “I really want to see the book. I mean, don’t you want to see little Giles?” Buffy scrunched her nose up at that. Willow looked at Buffy oddly, mentally reviewed what she said, and blushed. “I mean, don’t you want to see what Giles was like when he was younger? … I’m just not so sure about the whole getting caught bit.” Willow finished with a wince.
“Don’t worry. I’m sure we’ll be able to hear him coming, slayer hearing and all.”
“Oh! Right of course.”
“So you said it’s in his office?” Buffy made her way through the training room to the small side office.
“Yup, it’s in the drawer of his desk.” Willow went straight to the desk and tried pulling open the drawer. “It’s locked.”
“Are you sure?”
Willow rattled the handle. “Yeah, I’m sure.”
“Here, let me try.” Buffy gave the drawer a sharp tug and it slid open, taking a bit of the desk frame with it. “Oops.”
“You know, Giles should really look into getting slayer proof locks.”
“Maybe those were the slayer proof locks. I mean, have you ever seen child proof locks keep a kid out?” Buffy grinned.
“Good point.” Willow shifted through the file drawer. “Aha! Here we are.” She pulled out a book and tried to close the drawer, but it refused to budge. “Um, Buffy?”
“Oh, here, let me try.” Buffy slammed the drawer shut with a loud thud that made Willow wince. “See, all better.”
“Okie dokie. Here goes nothing.” Willow flipped open the cover holding her breath just in case it really was a spell book. “Oh my goddess!”
“They’re all in uniforms!”
“I was referring more to the fact that the pictures are moving.” Willow muttered, staring at the class picture of first year Gryffindors. She watched as a boy stuck bunny ears over one of the girl’s heads. She promptly turned around and slapped him.
“Oh, well, yeah, that’s kinda weird, but look! Even the girls are wearing ties.”
“You don’t think it’s Hellmouthy weird? I mean, the moving pictures, not the ties.”
“Well, I guess it depends. Did the pictures move before the book got here, or did they just start now?”
“I don’t know.”
“Then, let’s not worry about it, and start looking for Giles.”
“Okay.” Willow grinned, flipping to the next page. “How old do you think he is in this book?”
“Hmm, I don’t know. Oh look at the cute skunk!”
“I think that’s a badger.”
“Really?” The girls watched a small furry mammal wander away from the class photo of first year Hufflepuffs, a handful of kids chasing after it. “It’s got stripes though.”
“Badgers have stripes, and they make better mascots, you know with the not-stinkiness.”
“Ooh.” Buffy nodded, as they flipped through pages. Willow was about to turn the page again, but Buffy put her fingers down. “There he
Willow read the caption under the picture Buffy was pointing to. “I guess that makes him a third year, Slytherin.”
“Whatever that means.” Buffy smirked. “He’s so small!”
“That’s like junior high age. I wonder when he started wearing glasses?”
“I don’t know. Ooh, who’s the hottie!”
Willow ran through the list of names. “I think that’s Luscious, um, I mean, Lucius Malfoy.”
“Someone named their kid Luscious?”
“It’s a cruel, cruel world.” Willow nodded. “Hey, I guess Giles wouldn’t feel so bad growing up considering his classmates’ names. I mean, who would name a kid Rastaban?”
The same kind of parent that would name a kid Argentina?”
“Argentina, really?” Willow reread the list of names. “I hope that’s a typo. What a bad name for a boy.”
“That’s a boy?” Buffy squinted. “What’s that on Giles’ head?”
“I don’t know, but do you think it’s supposed to be flapping like that?”
At the sound of the bell, a Gryffindor girl went running from the potions classroom in tears. Following quickly behind her were the rest of the Gryffindor girls, followed by the Gryffindor boys and Slytherin girls. Last of all, came the Slytherin boys, strolling out of the class, practically falling over themselves with laughter. Well, all but one of the Slytherin boys.
“Did you see how fast Evans ran out of there?” Rastaban grinned.
“Well, considering Jigger’s comment…” Severus smirked.
“Ms. Evans, even a toddler can tell the difference between a holly berry and a squid eyeball.” Damon hissed imitating Professor Jigger’s haughty lisp.
“Well, he does have a point.” Lucius smirked. “One should know the difference.” He tried to keep his face schooled like his father’s always was, but broke down laughing after a few seconds. “By Salazar, that was funny!”
The laughter was cut short a moment later, as Rupert came storming out of the potions classroom heading straight for Lucius. Before the blonde could even draw his wand, Rupert had him pinned against the dungeon wall. “Don’t you ever mess with Evans again!”
What’s got into you? It was just a joke!”
“It was cruel, and dangerous, and uncalled for.” Rupert glared at Lucius the way he always imagined a slayer would glare at a vampire before the kill.
“It was just a joke.”
“Yeah, well, it wasn’t funny.” Rupert shoved Lucius harder against the wall, then let go, watching the blonde collapse. “Someone could have been hurt.”
“What, like you’ve never messed with a Gryff’s cauldron?” Lucius got up and dusted himself off.
“It’s one thing to add duck feathers to the Black’s Floating Potion. It’s completely different what you did!”
“Why, because it’s not Black?” Lucius scowled. It would not do to have another Slytherin questioning his judgment in front of the group.
“Because what you did was stupid! Did you even think about what the consequences were before you threw that stuff in?”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“He’s got a point.” Severus cut in, even though he knew better. “One more eyeball, and the whole classroom would have gone up in smoke.” Lucius shot him a dirty glance. “Of course, you didn’t actually add that eyeball.” Severus backed away slowly.
“If it was Black you would have been right there with me.” Lucius turned on Rupert. “It’s the girl, isn’t it? You’ve got a thing for her, don’t you?”
“No I don’t.”
“Yes you do.”
“No I don’t!”
“Oh, yeah? That’s not what I hear from Narcissa.” Lucius scowled. “She says you’ll talk to absolutely anybody in choir, even a mudblood Gryffindor.”
“It’s not a crime to talk to anybody.” Rupert frowned wondering how the argument had turned on him so quickly.
“Not yet, but it will be.” Lucius sneered ominously.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Just what it sounds like. Things are happening, big things that will affect the whole wizarding world, and you better know which side you stand on before it’s too late, muddy.”
“Are you threatening me, Lucy?” The rest of the Slytherins took a healthy step back, having learned just what that tone meant by now.
“Consider it a warning. Everyone knows you’re a mudblood. If you don’t stop acting like it, you’re going to be treated like one. And trust me, that’s going to be a very bad thing.” The boys stared nervously at each other. A single false step and a punch would have to be thrown. All semester long, a fight had been brewing between the two opposites of the Slytherin House, and it looked like today it might actually play itself out.
“Ah! There you boys are!” Professor Jigger called down the hallway. The boys all visibly relaxed as the professor approached them. “You are supposed to be in the Great Hall.”
“Huh?” Rookie said what was on everyone’s mind.
“Surely, Mr. Rosier remembered to post the notices up in the dormitory.” Evan blushed. “Oh Merlin.” Jigger cursed under his breath. “Very well, Rosier, let everyone in the dorm know the schedule, and round up the girls. I expect to see you in the Great Hall with the rest of your class in ten minutes. The rest of you, come with me.”
Professor Jigger quickly strode up the stairs, with the rest of the Slytherins following at a fast pace. The boys exchanged questioning glances, but none of them had an answer for why they were heading to the Great Hall at this odd time of day. However, as soon as they reached the Hall, it became quite obvious why they had been diverted from their study hall.
“Oh Helga.” Rupert muttered, finding it the closest wizarding swear to a real expletive.
“Hufflepuff Helga is right.” Rastaban muttered, observing the last of the Hufflepuff sixth years line up behind the bench set up in the front. “I hope they aren’t making all of us use our mascots.”
They boys watched the annoyed badger attempt to burrow its’ way through the floor of the Great Hall. The Hufflepuff prefect was doing his best to hold on to the wily beast and smile at the camera.
“It’s yearbook day?!” Lucius squeaked. “Where was the warning?”
“Rosier.” The rest of the boys muttered.
“Merlin.” Lucius swear. “I can’t have my picture taken looking like this! I have to go back to the room.”
“You look fine.” Severus muttered, hoping to avoid another Malfoy fit.
“Well, I doubt any one is expecting the rest of you to look any better, but I can’t look like I’ve just come from a potion’s explosion.”
“It wouldn’t have been an explosion if you hadn’t added the eyeballs.” Rupert shot back.
Displaying his fine leadership qualities, Lucius stuck his tongue out at Rupert before turning on his heels and attempting to leave the room.
“Just where do you think you’re going, Mr. Malfoy?” Professor Jigger stopped Lucius in his tracks. “If I have to sit for these photographs, the rest of you have to suffer as well.”
“Please, Professor Jigger, I just need to use the restroom.” Lucius fibbed.
“Mr. Malfoy, your class is immediately following Hufflepuff’s last class. If you are not back here by the time we’re lining up, I will not hesitate to deduct points from my own house.” Jigger glared at the blonde boy. Rupert was watching the exchange carefully, and came to several startling revelations. First, of course, was that Professor Jigger would in fact take off house points from Slytherin. On top of that shocker, it was also clear that Professor Jigger knew exactly how Ms. Evan’s cauldron malfunction occurred, and was looking for the perfect opportunity for retribution. Professor Jigger was a true Slytherin, and as distrustful of the Gryffindors as any man, but he drew the line at having his own class be the stage for the ongoing prank battles, and Lucius had crossed the line.
“Yes sir.” Lucius mumbled, quickly ducking out to the hall washroom.
As the boys watched the Hufflepuff seventh years line up, nobody noticed Severus move directly behind Rupert. “You are an idiot.” He whispered in his step-brother’s ear.
“Is that so?” Rupert whispered back, keeping his eyes on the Hufflepuffs.
“What were you thinking back there?”
“Don’t you dare try to cover for Lucius this time. You know he was out of line.” Rupert muttered, clenching his jaw in frustration.
“I don’t mean that.” Severus rolled his eyes. “I meant approaching him in public. That was stupid.”
“What? You think I should have just walked away?”
“You know what I think.”
“So it is about the girl.”
“No, it’s not about the girl.” Rupert snarled, nearly turning around to face his brother. The flash of the camera distracted him momentarily, as the Hufflepuffs smiled their cheerful, complacent grins.
“You’re picking the wrong battles.” Severus whispered.
“They’re my battles to pick.”
“He’s going to get back at you.”
“I dare him to try.”
“Fabulous. I suppose I should start composing the letter to Sir Bradford as soon as this is over.” Severus grumbled.
“Or you could try minding your own business?” Rupert glanced over his shoulder at his brother’s affronted look. “Just a suggestion, mind you.”
“Your funeral.” Severus shrugged and moved over to talk with his cousin. He actually had nothing to say to Rastaban, but until Lucius had exacted revenge on Rupert for the public humiliation, Severus knew it would be a much safer place to stand.
Lucius strolled back into the Great Hall just as the seventh year Hufflepuffs were filing out. The editor of this year’s book began escorting the Slytherins into their place. “Where’s your mascot?”
“Were we to have supplied one?” Professor Jigger asked, his inflection clearly implying the answer should be no.
“Well, Professor McGonagall said it would be no problem for any of the houses.” The editor nervously replied, hoping that Professor Jigger would be more likely to acquiesce if he thought it was McGongall’s idea.
“And I suppose she has a lion in her supply room for circumstances like this?”
“She transfigured one… after all, she does teach transfigurations. Besides, lions made out of chairs are less likely to bite than the real things.” The editor offered with a half smile that was not well received by the class of Slytherins in front of him.
“Well, if Professor McGonagall can pull a lion out of her hat, we must do something better.” Professor Jigger yanked his wand out of his sleeve and cried out “Serpensortia!” with such force that the resulting python stretched the entire length of the bench. “Will that do?”
“Quite well.” The photographer gulped nervously.
“Alright third years, line up. I don’t have all day.” The head of house instructed. Rookie once again found himself at the end of the girls’ row. Rupert found himself standing next to Prunella, who was snarling at the camera. Lucius, as always claimed the center spot. The python stretched at the foot of the girls, sunning itself by the enchanted ceiling.
“Everyone!” The photographer, a sixth year Ravenclaw, clapped his hands to get their attention. “When I say “Hogwarts, I want all of you to smile and hold it for ten seconds. I’ll count the seconds aloud. Any questions?” The Slytherins stared at him with varying degrees of disgust. They were not first years, and resented being treated as such.
“Hogwarts!” The photographer shouted. “One!”
Lucius quietly slid his wand out of his sleeve, pointing it sideways towards Rupert. Without cracking his smile, he muttered a spell. “Two!”
At that moment, the Gryffindor third year boys came strolling into the Great Hall, looking for some afternoon snacks. Seeing their rival house lined up for photos, they couldn’t resist the challenge. “Three!” The photographer called out, keeping his finger on the shutter.
Lucius had been intending a chicken pox derived spell, but the actual spell he used materialized a chicken without the pox. With a loud squawk, the fowl landed at Rupert’s feet.
“Don’t move anybody!” The photographer called out. “Four!” At that same second, Sirius Black charmed an orange from one of the fruit bowls on the tables to fly out of the bowl and hit the resting snake. With a startled jerk, the snake swung its body around.
It was hard to hear the call “Five” over the piercing shriek of Mafalda, as the python flowed over her lap. Sensing its life was in
danger, the chicken fled for higher ground, namely, Rupert Giles’ head.
“Six!” The python lunged for bird, which dug its talons into Rupert’s scalp and pulled.
“Seven!” Rupert stumbled as the snake came at him, intent on having a chicken dinner. Giving up any hope of saving the picture, Rupert began swatting at the frightened fowl.
“Eight!” Instead of getting off of Rupert’s head, the bird seemed even more content to defend that perch. Rupert didn’t even have to look up to know the Gryffindors were rolling on the floor laughing at him. The python started climbing up Rupert’s shoulder, heading for the bird.
“Geroff!” Rupert cried, trying to step away from the snake, but finding his back against the wall. “Nine!” the photographer called. The Gryffindors went running out of the hall before Professor Jigger could begin removing points. As Rupert swatted at the chicken, his hand met scaly flesh. He had a moment to ponder what he had done before he felt the fangs sinking into his ear.
“Ah! It bit me!”