Severus is always right
The afternoon had been a slow one at the shop, and Giles was glad to be able to close up quickly. Considering the mood Anya had been in all day, he couldn’t wait to be anywhere but the store. Of course, his mood dampened a bit when he realized he’d be leaving Anya’s pouting only to face Severus’ surliness.
Giles expected some sort of sarcastic comment upon opening the door, but was relieved to find Severus asleep on the couch, snoring. He quickly prepared dinner. At one point in his life, he had experimented with gourmet cooking. Since opening the shop, most nights his gourmet cooking went straight from the freezer to the microwave. At the ding of the microwave, there was a startled gasp from the couch.
“Sev, are you awake?”
Severus shouted out an “Impedimenta!” before realizing that not only was Giles not actually a threat, but without a wand, his cursing had no effect. “When did you get here?” Severus mumbled.
“I just got in. Did you have a good nap?” Giles fetched his dinner from the microwave, missing the glare from his stepbrother.
“Lovely. It’s nice to know that anyone could have broken in while you were out, thanks to that muggle medicine.”
“You know, I do lock and ward the doors before leaving.” Giles sat down at the table to eat. “How was your reading?”
“I know what you’re thinking.”
“What ever do you mean by that?”
“I read the paper. I know which articles drew your attention.”
“I think you could safely rule out the little league scores, yes.” Giles took a bite.
“The apartment evacuation- you’re assuming that it will have evidence of Death Eaters.”
“The thought had crossed my mind.” Giles admitted, getting up to get a glass of water.
“It’s not. I know Death Eaters. That does not sound at all like their modus operandi.”
“I know Sunnydale Press reporting, and that could be any one of a number of things besides a gas leak. Even if it isn’t your friends in black, it may still be worth taking a look at for other possible demons.”
“It’s not them.”
“How do you know that?”
“First of all, the paper states that all residents made it out of the building alive. The signal isn’t set off unless there is at least one verifiable corpse on the floor.”
“Is that a fact? Well, I guess you would know.”
“Second, the Death Eaters have no business coming to California other than to find and torture me. Why would they stop at an unimportant apartment building first?”
“That’s really quite vain of you. Numerous aspiring evil overlords have come to this town for their own reasons. Voldemort could be in search of some relic, or could even be trying to kill the slayer in an attempt to improve his reputation amongst the demonic crowd. It doesn’t all have to be about you.” Rupert shot back.
“That still doesn’t explain why an insignificant domicile was attacked.”
“Perhaps someone there knows something important. Or, more likely, if they were following your apparation trail, they might have ended up at the wrong address. That apartment isn’t too far away from here. In fact, it’s closer than the nearest bus route.”
“You’re going to waste time looking at something that is completely irrelevant.”
“Where would you rather I look?” Giles said with a heavy sigh.
“Obviously, that’s where I’ve been most recently. They have records of my admission.”
“I gave you a false name.” Giles offered.
“I noticed.” Severus sneered. “But, any Death Eater worth his mask should know that Steven Giles would be a pseudonym for me. Couldn’t you come up with something a tad less obvious?”
“Well, perhaps if you had let me known you were coming ahead of time, I could have prepared something.”
“Don’t get snippy with me. I’m just pointing out that anyone tracing me would undoubtedly end up at the hospital. Didn’t your slayer say there was something unusual about the hospital?”
“So now you’re actually listening to Buffy?”
“I’m telling you, the hospital is where you need to be if you’re going to find whoever was sent after me.”
“Well, then let me completely rearrange my schedule. After all, Severus is always right.”
“It’s about time you’ve realized that.”
Giles was about to respond with a snappy remark, but he realized it wasn’t worth the fight. With a resigned sigh, he went back to his dinner hoping for a few minutes of quiet before Severus started off on some other argument.
“Oh, thank heavens you’re late too.” Rupert caught up to Lily on the staircase just as it started rotating. “I was afraid everyone was going to count me tardy again.”
“Now they’ll just count both of us tardy.” Lily said with a wry grin.
“No, they wouldn’t do that.” Rupert leaned against the banister while the stairs finished swiveling. He had learned years ago that walking on the rotating stairs was just asking for trouble. “After all, you’re the brilliant one, the organized one, the glue that holds our group together.”
“The glue? What a lovely image.” Lily moaned, trying not to smile.
“Glue is a good thing. I’m sure many near apocalypses have been averted by glue.” Rupert replied, in as serious a tone as he could manage. “And, what’s more, those birds in there would never hold the glue of our group accountable for being five minutes late.”
“Well, give or take four minutes.” Rupert started back up the stairs, relieved to see that the landing the stairs finally settled on was the one closest to the study room.
“We won’t be more than a minute late.” Lily followed Rupert up the stairs. She picked up her pack to get in front of him then stopped at the hall entrance. “Wait a minute, what did you call us?”
“You called us birds.”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Yes you did. You said ‘the birds would never hold the glue accountable.’ That is such a sexist thing to say, Rupert Giles! I thought you were better than that.” Lily went storming down the hall towards the study room.
“I wasn’t referring to you! I was referring to Amelia and Penny. And they are birds.” Rupert called, following after her.
“Are you saying I’m not a ‘bird’?” Lily froze in the hall, her cheeks turning as red as her auburn hair. It was moments like these that Rupert realized that for all her cunning, Lily made a far better Gryffindor than a Slytherin. Her temper could never be hidden once it reared its ugly head.
“I didn’t say that.”
“So you don’t mean that I’m not a bird? Does that mean you think I’m not pretty enough to be a bird, or that I am pretty enough to be a bird, or do you just don’t think of me in that sort of way?”
“I thought you were a Gryffindor.” Rupert said, guessing from the look in Lily’s eye that at this moment he was very glad she had taken choir instead of dueling. He wasn’t sure quite what she was arguing about, but he was sure he was losing.
“What does that have to do with anything?!”
“Well, the Ravenclaws are birds. The Gryffindors aren’t.”
“That’s rather prejudice of you, judging a girl by her house. Is it so hard for you to imagine that a bird might come from the Gryffindors?” Lily ranted bitterly.
“Actually, yes. Your mascot is the lion. Last I checked a lion was not a bird. Ravenclaws, however, are birds.” Rupert said with a huff.
“Oh.” Lily’s hand flew up to her mouth as all the color drained out of her face. “That sort of bird,” She mumbled.
“Yes, that sort of bird.” Rupert ran his hand through his hair anxiously. “I didn’t mean to imply, that is… I know that a house doesn’t make a girl. After all, you’re a Gryff, and you’re alright.” He tried to fix the misunderstanding, but guessed from the look on Lily’s face that he was falling far short of that mark.
“Alright? Is that what you think?” Lily looked as though she were about to be ill.
“Well, yeah, I would say alright is a good thing to be. I mean, you’re a nice girl, and you’ve got a nice voice, and when you’re not yelling at me, I think we get a long quite well, don’t you?”
“Yes, yes, of course.” Lily hurriedly admitted.
“So we’re still friends?” Rupert asked.
“Right, of course, friends.” Lily nodded distractedly. “Look, I need to stop by the lavatory. Why don’t you go on?”
“I can wait for you.” Rupert offered. “They won’t start without you.”
“Oh.” Lily looked lost as she stood in front of the bathroom
door. “Very well, I’ll be right out.”
Rupert waited awkwardly in front of the door. He could hear a loud sneeze and the sink running for a minute. Lily emerged a minute later, her flushed face set in stiff determination. “Alright, I’m ready,” she announced. She strolled into the charms room as though she owned the place, and took her place at the head of the study table. Rupert followed a few steps behind, taking the last available seat.
“Alright, what shall we start with tonight?” Lily asked the assembled group of girls, ignoring the meaningful glances at her and Rupert. While showing up late would cause a certain amount of talk amongst the “birds” as Rupert called them, showing up late at the same time as the boy that half the girls had a crush on, raised considerably more eyebrows.
“I wouldn’t mind going over the history notes. I’m sure we all have holes in ours.” Beatrice offered, amidst the shuffling of papers.
“True, history is always a good bet.” Lily conceded, eager to get started before any of the other girls could make a comment. “But, we don’t have an exam in that course for another two weeks at least.”
“Our next exam is in DADA.” Amelia Bosenbody commented.
“I second a vote to study DADA. It’s a new professor so it will be harder to prepare for his exam style.” Penelope Peasegood backed up her fellow Ravenclaw.
“Does anyone have any objection to DADA?” There were a few nervous looks as the Hufflepuffs wondered if they were brave enough to challenge a determined Ravenclaw. “If there’s time, we’ll go back to history.” Lily announced, bringing sighs of relief from the Hufflepuffs. “Did Professor Diggle tell you what to expect on the exam?” Lily stared at the Hufflepuffs hoping to find out what the other class knew without having to make eye contact with the sole Gryffindor.
“I think we’re mainly focusing on the types of relics and how they’re used in defensive and offensive magics.” Rupert offered, pulling out his folder of DADA notes. Normally Lily would jump on that topic, but today she was hesitant to acknowledge the Slytherin.
“That’s what I have down as well.” Amelia smiled, catching some of the undertones between Rupert and Lily. While she considered Lily a good friend, she really thought Slytherins were much better matched to Ravenclaws; at least, that was what she had told Penny. “That’s good; it means he’s teaching both of the fourth year classes the same information.”
“Alright, so setting up the outline, we have five basic types of relics.” Lily numbered to five on the chalkboard, keeping her eyes steadily on the black wall.
“Five? I only have four.” Rupert interrupted.
“There are definitely five.” Lily said with the surety of a Gryffindor.
“Alright, name them.” Rupert challenged with a grin.
“I was about to do that.” Lily huffed. “First we have orbs. They’re primarily used for divination and visions such as the traditional crystal ball. They’re associated with the element of aether.”
“They can also be used to contain spirits.” Beatrice’s friend
“Really?” Amelia looked up in alarm. “I don’t have that in my notes.”
“Oh, he covered it in our class.” Beatrice smiled coyly at Rupert. “What was that example he gave? I think I misspelled it.”
“The Orb of Thessulah – T-H-E-S-S-U-L-A-H- can be used for trapping a soul temporarily between life and death.” Rupert filled in.
“That sounds like dark magic.” Amelia frowned.
“I thought relics didn’t have dark or light; it just depended on how they’re used.” Beatrice frowned at her notes.
“That’s not entirely true, but I think that’s the answer Professor Diggle wants to hear.” Lily agreed.
“Alright, so we have orbs, what’s your number two?” Rupert asked.
“Okay, the second type of relic is pendants. Pendants consist of a precious or semi-precious stone encased in some sort metal, in a size that can be easily worn. They’re used for calling different elementals.”
“I don’t like my definition of elemental, does anyone have anything better?” Penelope asked, looking hopefully at Rupert.
“I have a being primarily driven by one of the four elements. It can be demonic or even from another plane of existence…” Amelia quoted, ignoring the glare from her fellow Ravenclaw. “…Whatever that means.”
“The classic example is the Jewel of the Nile, used to call rain gods to the desert.” Rupert added not noticing the triumphant look on Penelope’s face. “And now, you’re up to three.”
“Alright, the third class of relics is chalices.” Lily wrote on the board, trying hard not to break the chalk as she watched how Penelope and Amelia were flirting shamelessly with her friend, her very good friend... despite their recent squabble.
“Oh, I think I see the problem.” Rupert smiled. “I didn’t write chalices; I have reflective surfaces instead. Did you separate mirrors and chalices?”
“No.” Lilly eyes sparkled. She loved the challenges from her study partners. It let her demonstrate just how well she could compete with the wizard-born students. “Professor Diggle was very clear about that in class. Mirrors are in the same class as anything that holds water. Both cups and mirrors are used as reflective devices to see some aspect of the present and both are tied to the element water. I just like the term chalice better.”
“That’s because Diggle said that mirrors get split between chalices and orbs depending on whether they look at the future or at the present. Mirrors really aren’t a type of relic at all unless they’re charmed.” Amelia cut in, eager to show off her intellectual prowess, as well.
“That makes no sense.” Beatrice frowned, sensing she was lost on more than just her DADA notes.
“No, but that’s the answer he expects. If I were you, I’d skip any mention of mirrors and just jump straight to the Holy Grail.” Penny summarized.
“Fine.” Rupert frowned. “I don’t think we need to review the Holy Grail.” If mirrors weren’t the fifth relic, he had no idea what the Gryffindors and Ravenclaws were talking about. Obviously, Diggle was not teaching the classes the same material.
“So the fourth class of relics,” Lily took great pleasure in writing on the chalkboard, “is weapons.”
“Okay, so what are the functions and what’s an example?” the other Gryffindor girl asked.
“The function of relic weapons is to imbue the user with an unnatural advantage in battle over a specific type of foe. They sort of even the odds in the battle of good and evil, if the good side are the underdog. The most famous example of a relic weapon is Excalibur, which King Arthur used to unite Britain and chase out the Saxons.” Rupert rattled off; glad to see he had some sort of intellectual advantage in a category. He had covered relic weapons with Quentin extensively.
“I thought King Arthur was a Saxon.” Lily frowned.
“No, he was part Roman and part Celt.” Rupert replied.
“What are you two talking about? Everyone knows King Arthur was a wizard.” Beatrice answered.
“I thought Merlin was the wizard and King Arthur was a Gaul.” Constance corrected her fellow Hufflpuff.
“No!” The Ravenclaws chorused. Of course their responding answers conflicted after that.
“Well, thank heavens this is DADA and not History of Magic.” Rupert finally said, getting the group back on target. “The point is that Excalibur is a magic sword that provides the wielder great power as a leader of Britain, and that brings us to the end of the relic classes and on to ways to summon relics.”
“No, we still have one more.” Lily determinedly wrote on the board. “Athames.”
“What? That can’t be a fifth. An athame is a weapon.” Rupert couldn’t believe his eyes.
“No it’s not. Athames are sharp, but not used in battle.”
“But Professor Diggle made a specific point that both swords and athames gain their power from spilled blood, hence tied to the earth element. That puts athames clearly in the weapons category.” Rupert countered.
“But athames spill blood in sacrifices to higher deities; weapons aren’t meant for sacrifices.” Lily shot back, silently giving herself a point.
“Says who? What is the blood of battle if not a sacrifice to the notion of country?” Rupert countered, adding a point to his mental tally.
“Oh, that is such a male thing to say!” Lily fumed, knowing she was right, but unsure how to prove it to the Slytherin.
“What? Just because I’m right?” Rupert retorted, an anticipatory gleam in his eye. This could be the first time he would win an argument against Evans. “Everyone knows that an athame is used as a weapon in a ceremonial fashion. Besides, Professor Diggle made a point to compare Excalibur to the Knife of Diana; they both ascribe power in battle.”
“But he said that to make the contrast between Excalibur and the Knife of Diana, because one is a cultural relic while the other is a religious relic!” Lily screamed back at Rupert.
“It’s the same thing! It’s in the same section of notes! There are only four classes of relics.”
“You know…” One of the Hufflepuffs tried to intervene, seeing the study group rapidly dissolve into squabbling. Evidently, the notes were not as consistent between the two classes as everyone had originally thought. Just when she thought the shouting couldn’t get any louder, Constance put her fingers to her lips and blew out a whistle that could be heard all the way down in the Great Hall. The study group stared at her silently. “So, I think now would be a good time to talk history for a bit. Who’s with me?”
At supper that night, Rupert was still fuming. Technically, he hadn’t lost the fight to Lily, but he hadn’t been able to declare a solid victory either. “Hey Muddy, what’s on your mind?” Damon asked.
“You know the notes from DADA class last week? How many classes of relics were there?” Rupert asked trying to sound as neutral as possible.
“Hmm.” Damon took another bite of his stew to buy some time to think. “Okay, there were orbs for airy things, pendants for shiny things, cups for watery things, and swords for bloody things, right?”
“That’s what I thought.” Rupert said, completely vindicated.
“You’re missing one.” Severus interrupted.
“Well, each relic type is tied to an element.”
“Right; four elements, four relics.”
“No. It’s orbs for air, pendants for fire, chalice for water, swords for earth, and athames for spirit.”
“It’s Rowena’s Law. Most people thought the classic division of four elements would hold, but in the rediscovered journals of Rowena Ravenclaw, she outlined the fifth element of the soul or heart or whatever that Hufflepuff thing is. Anyway, since athames are used in religious ceremonies, that was her example of a spiritual relic. If you think about it, crosses fit much better in that category, but Christianity wasn’t such a major influence back at the founding so I doubt she knew about some of the Catholic relics then. The point is, the athame relics gain power from a deity source rather than an element.” Severus lectured.
“Diggle didn’t say anything about that.” Lucius frowned.
“Yes he did. He talked about the Knife of Diana.”
“But he said that it was like a sword.”
“Well, yes, it’s like a sword, but it’s not a sword.” Severus said in a carefully demeaning tone. “If it was a sword, he would have just left off with the discussion of Excalibur.”
“But, he never said athames were a different group and they were on the same part of the board.”
“Trust me on this. Jigger said that Diggle did his thesis on Rowena’s Law. He’s definitely a five element sort of professor.”
“He didn’t say anything about it in our class.” Lucius insisted.
“No, but he did say it in the Ravenclaw-Gryffindor class.” Rupert muttered.
“Are you sure about that?” Damon questioned Severus.
“Of course I’m sure. I’m always right.” Severus answered, keeping a straight face.
“Sure you are. That’s why the Gryffs are beating you in Herbology and Runes.” Rupert teased.
“Alright, I’m not always right. I’m just always right if it means you’re the one in the wrong.”
“Oh, of course, how perfectly obvious.” Rupert muttered.
A/N: A thousand apologies for my long delay. I will try my best not to fall off the face of the earth again. Thank you to anyone still sticking with this story, especially given the nature of HBP.