A Bit of Passions
Severus threw the book disgustedly to one side. Once again his worse fears of muggles had been realized. One would think by reading that claptrap that Arthur never would have made it to Camelot if he didn’t have a woman leading him by the hand, and the travesty of what they had done to Merlin! What scandalous defamation! He was debating whether he should attempt to pick up one of the other books when there was a loud pounding on the door.
“Oi, watcher, open up!” A voice called out. The accent was definitely British, but not the clipped accent common among wizarding folk accustomed to the more refined Latin for incantations. Still, more than a few aurors, and Death Eaters for that matter, had picked up the muggle London accent when on assignment. Severus decided to play it safe and stay quiet.
The doorknob rattled, and Severus couldn’t help but wonder if the wards were active. “Bugger left his lights on.” The voice murmured. “Oh well, no bother.” Severus was about to breathe a sigh of relief, figuring the person on the other side would leave, when there was a quiet thump. Several taps and clicks later, the door opened.
A man, making no effort to be quiet, took a few steps towards the kitchen before freezing. “Fe, fi, fo, fum. I smell the blood of an Englishman.” The man teasingly muttered. Severus tried to sink into the couch, but it was a bit difficult with so many casts. He could hear the sound of footsteps as the man walked right up to the edge of the couch. “And what do we have here?” The man asked with that casual menace Severus normally associated with the Malfoy family.
Seeing the man erased any similarity with the Malfoys. Where Lucius would not be seen in public without a proper formal robe, this man wore battered muggle jeans, scuffed boots, and a tattered black overcoat. If he hadn’t have been assigned to so many missions with Tonks and her tragic sense of muggle fashionability, Severus would have assumed this man was a vagrant. He still hadn’t ruled out that option, but was willing to keep his mind open for the time being; well, reasonably open given the circumstances. “If you don’t leave by the count of three, you’ll wish you had.” Severus drawled, attempting to draw on all his intimidating strength- a nearly impossible task given his injuries.
“Oh really?” The man seemed very amused. “Or what?”
“One.” Severus announced, ignoring the bait. He wasn’t about to let any stranger wander in off the street. Even without his wand, he wasn’t helpless. The man sat down on the edge of the couch, annoying Severus with his indifference.
“Two.” Severus reached over to the side table, and picked up the first thing he could reach. He held the cordless phone gingerly in his right hand.
“Who are you going to call? The police? Oooh, I’m so frightened.” The man smirked.
“Three.” Severus muttered, and then hurled the phone at the intruder, ignoring the pain in his shoulder.
“Bloody hell!” The man yelped as the phone made contact with his head. The phone bounced off his head, leaving neither scratch nor bruise. “You’re a head case, that’s what.” The man picked the phone up off the floor. “Now, is that all you’ve got?”
Severus glared at the man in a way that had brought many first years to tears.
The man just chuckled. “You’ve got some pluck about you, but you do realize that you’ve got enough plaster on you to be a piñata, don’t you? That’s not exactly an intimidating picture.”
“I had noticed.” Severus answered drolly. “But I will not allow some vagrant to trespass on my brother’s property.”
“Brother?” The man tilted his head as he eyed Severus cautiously. “You don’t look a thing like ol’ Rupert.”
Severus reached for anything else on the bedside table to throw and came up with a water glass. The man stepped away from the couch with his hands up. “Now, now, no need to get hasty. I’ve got some important information for the watcher, and I doubt he’d take kindly to you chasing me away his source.”
Studying the man’s face, Severus muttered, “I doubt that,” but still set down the glass.
“Trust me, the slayer will want to know what I’ve got.”
Severus looked the man in the eye, deciding to try a bit of legilimens. The man quirked his eye brow up in challenge, and Severus got the impression that he would be better off looking into a brick wall. His strength was still weak, and the Hellmouth wasn’t making it an easier task, but he should have at least been able to identify some basic memories. It was as if the man’s soul was completely empty. “Who are you?” Severus whispered.
“You can call me, Spike.” The man grinned bearing a bit of fang, but Severus was too lost in the man’s eyes to notice. It was inconceivable; there was nothing there to legilimens!
“Well, Spike,” Severus sneered the word, “if it’s so important, you can just tell me the message, and I’ll relay it to my brother.”
“I don’t think so.” Spike countered, arching his scarred brow. “How do I know you’re really the watcher’s brother? And, even if you are, I doubt those help with your memory any.” The man nodded at the bottle of painkillers by the abandoned water glass. “I’ll just wait for him. I suppose he and the slayer are making rounds?”
Severus found no reason to answer Spike. It was not his duty to entertain his brother’s guests, however uninvited they may be.
“Regular ball of sunshine you are.” Spike muttered, heading into the kitchen. Severus heard a cabinet door open. A few more doors opened and closed before a humming noise started. “You want anything to drink?” Spike called from the kitchen.
“A firewhiskey would hit the spot.” Severus mumbled.
“That’s nice, but I doubt ol’ Rupes keeps any of the hard stuff in a convenient place.” Spike called back.
Severus hadn’t expected to be heard, and was at a loss for how to respond. “Some water would be nice.” He finally conceded.
A bell rang, startling Severus, but Spike seemed to have expected the noise and opened another door. He pulled out a coffee mug and took a tentative sip. “Lovely.” A minute later, Severus had a mug of water in his right hand to match the mug in Spike’s left.
“Scoot over.” The man ordered.
“Whatever for?” Severus looked up from the cool sip of water.
“Because, you git, I want to sit on the couch.”
“The couch is currently occupied. You may sit over there.” Severus nodded towards the beat up recliner in the corner.
“Not likely. You can’t see the tube from over there.” Spike pointed out.
“Well you can hardly see a tube from this position either.” Severus countered, not sure what kind of tube the odd man would want to be looking at in the first place.
“No kidding. One of these days, the ol’ man is going to have to get himself a real telly.” Spike wedged himself onto the couch, forcing Severus to scoot over to the best of his abilities. Picking up an odd device from the coffee table, Spike pressed a button.
Suddenly the glass box in the corner flared to life and began talking. “Merlin, what is that?” Severus muttered.
“I know. Bloody shame what they’ve done to prime time this season.” Spike offered amiably, ignoring the glare he was getting as he kicked his muddy boots up on the sofa bed.
“What are you doing?” Severus asked, as Spike hit another button and the picture changed.
“Were you watching that? Oh well.” Spike smirked as he began flipping channels, staying on each station just long enough to catch Severus’ attention.
“You’re evil.” Severus finally muttered, giving up on following any plot.
“That’s the nicest thing anyone’s told me in a long time.” Spike said, still flipping through the stations. Severus was beginning to think they had gone through all of the shows before when Spike stopped on a station, actually setting the device down. “Now this is what I’m talking about.”
Saccharine sweet music swelled, and Severus could read the word “Passions” in flowery font. “What is this?”
“Come on, mate, don’t tell me you’ve never seen Passions!” Spike’s eyes were fixed on the screen in front of him. “It’s only the best show produced on this side of the pond.”
“Is that so?” Severus did not sound convinced. A moment later the screen changed from flowery text to a nearly naked woman running after someone. “Good heavens, what happened to her?”
“Shh, I missed a show. It’s bugger all to catch up.” Spike muttered.
“Who is that? What is that supposed to mean?” Severus asked in frustration. In the corner of the screen, a shadowy figure watching the girl. Before anything could happen between the shadow and the girl, the scene had changed, and a woman seemed to be expostulating about the wonders of her mop.
“Ah, well you see, the woman is possibly pregnant by her boss’s son. The son doesn’t know yet, but the paperwork from the doctors’ office got delivered to the wrong house, so any one of her neighbors might know. That could be bad since one of them is engaged to said son, and one of them is being blackmailed by her brother. The shadow could be any of them, or her boss if he suspects she’s pregnant. My guess is that it’s actually her brother who was presumed dead years ago.”
“You got all that from what we just saw?” Severus asked, wondering what the mop had to do with everything.
“Of course, I might have missed something last week. I thought there was some question of who the real father was, so it might be tied to that plot.” Spike continued on, ignoring the confused look from the man beside him.
“I see.” Severus glanced again at the screen where dancing candy were singing off key. “And what is their purpose?”
“What, the M & Ms?” Spike turned to stare at the man next to him.
“Is that what they are? What a ludicrous name.” Severus muttered while wondering if the Weasley twins had come up with such an asinine confectionary.
“Right.” Spike nodded slowly, inching away from Severus on the narrow couch. “Well, they have nothing to do with the main story. They’re just adverts.”
“Ah, I see.” Severus found himself drawn to the flickering box. “So there is in fact a main story?”
“Oh yeah, several. There’s the long lost relatives coming in for a reunion, the potential corporate scandal, and by now I think half the cast are illegitimate children of the other half.”
“How is that possible? I would have thought…”
“Shh, don’t think, the show’s on.”
“Bloody hell.” Rupert muttered falling down on his bed. “That was the worst review session ever.”
“I take it none of the other houses knew the fertilizer preference of the whomping willow either?” Severus looked up from his book.
“Actually, Beatrice had that; just a moment, let me look it up.” Rupert started flipping through his stacks of parchment.
“Well, then, at least you had a productive review session.” Severus remarked, as Rupert handed him the sheet of notes. “I’m actually rather curious to see how the Slytherin counterpart went.”
“What Slytherin counterpart?”
“Didn’t you hear? Oh, of course not, you aren’t in dueling.” Severus smiled smugly. He pulled out a blank piece of parchment and began copying the relevant parts of Rupert’s notes.
Rupert watched on in silence until he couldn’t take the suspense any longer. “Don’t be an ass! Tell me.”
“Well, if you insist. After all, you were so kind as to let me borrow your notes.” Severus glanced back up at his step-brother. “The Slytherin girls have decided they wanted their own study group, like your little gang, and they invited Lucius as their token male.”
“Well, he’s welcome to that group of harpies.” Rupert tried not to
sound to annoyed that not only was his house holding study groups without him, but that they had invited Lucius, who barely squeaked by in many of his classes, instead of Sev or him.
“He may beg to differ. Oh, look, the Hufflepuff also got down the entire poultice recipe. Who would have thought she’d have it in her?” Severus started copying the back of Rupert’s parchment as well.
“Beatrice really isn’t as slow as everyone thinks she is. She’s just uptight because of her famous aunt. Quite frankly I don’t blame her; I think I would find it a bit awkward growing up with the same namesake as the every-flavor beans.”
“So, if her notes are so much better, why were you complaining about the review session?” Severus eyed the page up and down to make sure he hadn’t missed any key details.
“Oh, it was just awful. For every minute we spent on notes, we spent two debating the Yule Ball. One would think all the girls didn’t want to be ready for the Herbology test on Tuesday.”
“The Yule Ball? But that’s months away!”
“Try weeks away, as in three.” Rupert muttered. “They have a countdown going. Evidently if the girls haven’t been asked by two weeks before the dance, they swear they’ll take desperate measures.”
“Two weeks?” Severus scowled in shock. “Well, that’s a fine mess. I don’t think any of us would want to think about a dance that far in advance. I was just going to wait until the week of. After all, I would think the girls already brought their dresses, so it doesn’t much matter who asks whom. Of course, I must go with some girl, but really, three weeks in advance? I dread to think how bad it will be when we’re seventh years.”
“So, does this mean you actually know who you’re going to ask?” Rupert fished for Severus’ preferences, having been asked by several of the girls what his house’s preferences were.
“Well, mother did send a list of appropriate ladies.”
“You’re pulling my leg! You’re letting Cassandra pick out your date?”
“I didn’t say that.” Severus retorted, although Rupert could tell that was precisely his plan for the event. “Besides, I doubt you have a better solution. Who are you going to ask?”
“Well, I hadn’t really given it much thought.”
“That’s impossible. You just spent three hours with a gaggle of girls talking about it. Surely you gave it some thought.”
“Why would you want to know, anyway?” Rupert retorted.
“Well, for one thing, if you plan on doing something ridiculously stupid, like asking a Gryffindor, I might be able to talk you out of it, if you give me time.” Severus brushed his shaggy black bangs out of his eyes.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Severus just shot Rupert a
withering glare. “I’ll have you know that there are many worse things than going with a Gryffindor.”
“Ah, yes, excellent point.”
Their conversation was cut short by the door opening. Lucius strolled in, setting his quidditch gear on his bed. “Hello, boys. You’re just the Slytherins I was hoping to see.”
“Surely the quidditch team isn’t looking for subs already.” Severus remarked, watching Lucius carefully prune his broom, although he had obvious just pruned it at practice. “The last I heard, Jigger had stopped all investigations into that little broom closet incident.”
“No, we don’t need substitutes; the team looks quite strong for this season.” Lucius ignored the looks Severus and Rupert shared. There were a few tense minutes as Lucius casually put away his quidditch gear and the brothers exchanged meaningful looks, trying to decide which one of them would fall for Lucius’ trap today.
Finally Rupert got tired of waiting. “What was it you needed to speak to us about, Lucius?”
Lucius turned to smile at the boys, glad that one of them broke first. He quickly stashed his gear under his bed and walked over to where they were seated on Severus’ bed. “As you know, I went to the Slytherin girls’ study group this afternoon.”
“Ah yes, how did that go? Are you all ready for the Herbology exam?” Rupert asked, trying to be cordial to his least favorite roommate.
“Ah, thanks for reminding me. May I borrow your notes for that?” Lucius grabbed Rupert’s notes out of Severus’ hands. “Thanks. You see, we didn’t really discuss the exam.”
“Sounds like a rather unproductive study group, if you ask me.”
“On the contrary, it was quite fascinating. I can see why you enjoy it so much.” Lucius sent a meaningful glance at Rupert who simply rolled his eyes. “The female mind is a fascinating subject to study.”
“Is that what you were studying? No wonder it didn’t take your group as long as Rupert’s group.” Severus smirked.
“Laugh all you want, but don’t come crying to me this winter, when everything falls apart.”
“I don’t cry.” Severus answered. Rupert shot him a withering glance. “What? I don’t.”
“Malfoy, what do you mean, everything falling apart?”
“I bet you can’t guess what the subject of the study group was today.” Malfoy answered smugly.
“Well, since obviously you didn’t cover herbology,” Rupert made a swipe for his notes, but Lucius held them too far away, “my guess would be the Yule Ball.”
“How’d you know that?”
“It hardly takes an astro-alchemist to figure that one out.” Rupert muttered.
“Well, then I guess it won’t surprise you that the girls have already decided whom we will be asking.” Lucius snarled back, not impressed by Rupert’s sense of humor.
“If they’ve decided this, why don’t they do the asking?”
“Pretend he didn’t say that.” Severus quickly interjected while sending his brother a scolding look. “Some people just don’t appreciate tradition.”
“Right.” Lucius nodded. “Well, I’ve already talked to the other guys, and they’re okay with the plan, so I just need you two to agree to this, and the Yule Ball will be set.”
“Alright, what’s the plan?” Severus asked.
“I will ask Narcissa to the dance during lunch on Wednesday. The rest of you have from then until Sunday at dinner to ask your dates, or we’re taking matters into our own hands.”
“That doesn’t seem like much of a plan.”
“That’s because I just got started.” Lucius pulled a piece of parchment from his pocket. “Alright, according to my list, you,” Lucius pointed at Rupert. “are supposed to ask Martha.” Rupert raised his hand, but Lucius ignored him, turning to Severus. “And, you get to ask Prunella.”
“Well, that’s the only logical solution.”
“Are you mad? There is no way I am attending the ball with
Prunella at my side, or even in my general presence.”
“I don’t want to go with Martha! Talk about a total bore.”
“At least she’s better than Prunella.” Severus pouted.
“Well, you have me there.” Rupert admitted. “But, I still think it’s a horrible idea.”
“Gentlemen, gentlemen, calm down.” Lucius started. He had known since his powwow with the girls, that these would be the toughest sells in the house, and had tried to hand the task of informing the brothers over to Narcissa. Unfortunately, he had drawn the short straw and thus was given the ultimatum to convince the two boys, or else.
“Sure, you can be calm; you have Narcissa Black already in the bag.” Rupert muttered, “Look at it from our point, would you? Surely you must admit that it’s cruel punishment to set any of your mates up with Prunella.”
“I’d admit she’s a bit odd.”
“Odd? Uric the Oddball was odd; that doesn’t even begin to describe Prunella.”
“Gentlemen, surely you must understand the bigger picture here. Think about the Slytherin image. What would happen if there was a Slytherin lady that was unaccompanied to the ball? Surely you can see how that would reflect poorly on all of us.”
“Nice try, Malfoy, but you’ll need a better argument than taking one for the team. After all, you could always tie Rookie to Prunella.” Rupert suggested.
“That’s impossible. Prunella is a full head taller than Rookie. He has to go with Violet.”
“What about Evan? He’s taller than Prunella.” Severus offered.
“Are you crazy? That would be a disaster!”
“Trust me, I can make it an even bigger disaster.” Severus’ cold voice would have been threatening to anyone, but Lucius was immune to such threats, having mastered that voice when he was a first year.
“Besides, Mafalda wants Evan to ask her.”
“I thought Evan was interested in Violet.”
“He may be interested in her, but he’s in no position to be asking Violet to a dance. No, it’s much too early for him to make his move on her fortune. If he’s intelligent, he’ll use Mafalda as a jumping off point.”
“And Mafalda knows this?”
“Of course, but considering her family, she should be happy to have Rosier for any Yule Ball, even the first.”
“But how is Argentius a better match for Violet? The Rookwoods are hardly in the same social circle as the Whitehorns.” Severus countered.
“Well, some exceptions had to be made. Violet’s social circle is pretty much just the LeStranges, the Malfoys, and the Snapes…”
“… but there’s some indication that Rookie’s father will get a promotion in the Ministry, so he would be acceptable.”
“Still, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t go with Violet, and Rookie could go with someone else, such as Martha. That would free Rupert up to go with Prunella.”
“Oh, no you don’t!” Rupert jumped into the argument.
“No, that’s impossible. Rookie can’t go with Martha. There was a misunderstanding between their grandfathers and technically the families are in a feud. Now, a shot hasn’t been fired in nearly twenty years, but the fourth year Yule Ball is not the place to reenact Romeo and Juliet.” Lucius sighed; tired of rehashing the same arguments he had with the girls just this afternoon.
“Oh, I don’t know about that. It would be romantic, in a way.” Rupert mused.
“No, it can’t work that way. Rookie can’t go with Martha, is too short for Prunella, and Mafalda’s already been called for, so he must go with Violet.”
“Beginner’s luck.” Severus muttered.
“That still doesn’t explain why Severus and I have to take one for the team.” Rupert pointed out. “There are only five Slytherin girls and seven of us. Two of us have to ask someone out of house. Why can’t that be Sev and me?”
“True, but follow this logic. Clearly, one of those out of house slots has to go to Rastaban.”
“Because he’s related to Martha, Prunella, and Violet at the second cousin level if not closer.”
Rupert pinched the bridge of his nose. “Why should that matter? It’s just a dance, not a marriage.”
“And it’s not as though it’s been a serious determent to wizards in the past, marriage or otherwise.” Severus muttered.
“And wouldn’t it make sense for Rastaban to ask Prunella, if his brother is going with Bellatrix, who is friends with Prunella?” Rupert latched onto the idea.
“I wouldn’t exactly use the words Bellatrix and friends in the same sentence.” Lucius coughed.
“Regardless, I think Rastaban could go with Prunella.” Severus asserted.
“Of course you would think that.” Lucius glared at Sev.
“Or if that doesn’t work, what about Travers? He’s nearly as tall as Sev, and he’s unaccounted for.” Rupert cut in, before the stare off could escalate to fisticuffs.
“Travers is asking outside of the house.”
“Because he needs to ask outside the house. He told me last week he intended to ask a Ravenclaw in order to show a commitment to inter-house unity.”
“Why would he do that? Any idea which Ravenclaw?” Rupert frowned. This was the first he’d heard of any political advantage of inter-house unity. Traditional house rhetoric was to divide and conquer.
“How should I know?” Lucius shrugged. “The point is, he asked first.”
“I think you should care about what your fellow Slytherin is planning.” Severus had gone through several ideas before settling on the most likely scenario. “Rupert has a point; why would Damon suddenly be interested in demonstrating inter-house unity? He must be planning on running for some sort of office. If it was Evan, we could have said yearbook, but with Damon, it must be something bigger.”
“Quidditch?” Lucius offered.
“No, you git. That’s a house team.”
“Prefect.” Lucius groaned. “Merlin’s balls, he’s making a move for the prefecture.”
“I thought you wanted to be prefect, Malfoy.” Rupert winked at Sev. “That’s awfully noble of you to set your fellow classmate up to take your prefecture.”
“I can’t let him get away with this.”
“No, you can’t. And you know what would be truly fair punishment? You should set him up with Prunella.”
“What? I can’t do that. Prunella is expecting Severus.”
“Come on, Lucius.” Rupert draped an arm around Lucius shoulder, “Just look at him. Sev here is a pathetic specimen of Slytherin manhood; just look at how his hair is always in his face.” At that moment, Severus was once again blowing his bangs out of his eyes, cursing his decision to grow his hair out. “I’m sure if you give Prunella the option, she’d gladly trade up for a Travers.”
“Hmm. Well, it would serve Travers right for trying to pull a fast one on me.”
“Yes, it would.” Rupert patted Lucius on the back and stepped away. “And, what’s more, that would leave Severus open to take Martha, and I would be free to ask someone out of the house. After all, that would be appropriate for the only non-pureblooded Slytherin, don’t you think?”
Lucius was about to nod, but instead shook his head. “No, you have to go with Martha.”
“Well, because… she’s rather fond of you.” Lucius mumbled.
“She likes you. She has her heart set on you taking her to the dance, and Narcissa promised she could make it so.”
“What?! I’m not some toy Narcissa can hand out at will! The nerve of her.”
“If I were you, I’d be more careful with what I say about Narcissa.”
“Really, Malfoy, she’s gone too far. I should go over there right now and have a word with her.”
As Rupert took a step for the door, Lucius grabbed his arm. “Wait! You can’t go over there.”
“Because… “ Lucius took an elaborate sigh. “Because it’s my fault. I told Narcissa you would go with Martha.”
“Why would you do a daft thing like that?” Rupert shouted over
“If you had seen the poor girl, you would agree to it too. She’s rather set on going to the Yule Ball with you.” Lucius argued back.
“Oh, lovely,” Rupert groaned. “If you were in my case, wouldn’t that be a reason to go with any one but Martha? Not only is she boring, but she’ll be like a limpet, a boring, clinging, limpet.”
“There are worse fates.” Severus muttered.
“Prunella.” Lucius coughed under his breath. Rupert stared at him. “What? I’m not going to let both of you off the hook, so don’t even think about it.”
“With friends like you, I obviously don’t need enemies.” Rupert muttered. “And you realize what this will do to my study group; several of them were counting on me to ask them to that silly ball. After all, the boy-girl ratio in Hufflepuff is opposite ours.”
“But just think what sort of strife you would bring to your group if you were forced to choose between the ladies?” Lucius went in for the kill. “The arguments, the fighting, the mistrust- do you really want to mess with a good thing? On the other hand, you could go with Martha, and tell your little fan club that you had no other choice. They would treat you like a martyr. At the same time, I could let it slip to Narcissa that you were doing this against your wishes. That would be bound to curry some favor amongst the girls of the house. After all, they have to live with Martha, and I doubt it would be pretty if you didn’t ask her.”
“I’m not sure those girls are a group I want to gain favors from. They tend to have a very selective memory.” Rupert muttered.
“True, there was that incident last year when you needed a divination partner…” Severus smiled at the tactic Rupert was taking. It was clear that the boy was going to cave, but not before he took a few others down with him.
“Fine, I’ll owe you one as well.” Lucius offered reluctantly.
“Right and that will last how long? Until the next time Narcissa decides to run our lives, is that it? I’d have better luck asking someone in my study group and hoping no one gets upset over it.” Rupert looked like he was seriously considering the option.
“And I promise not to volunteer you for anything with Narcissa unless I ask you first.” Lucius ground out between clenched teeth.
“I’ll hold you to that, on Slytherin’s honor.” Rupert replied with all the severity that was due. He offered his hand to Lucius who shook on it. “Alright, I’ll ask Martha.”
“Now, should you go arrange Travers’ life for him?”
“Right.” Lucius took a step towards the door.
“Yes?” The blonde straightened his posture.
“Leave my notes on the bed. You can borrow them later, but I’m not letting them out of this room.”
Malfoy grumbled, but left the sheet of parchment on Rupert’s bed as he passed by. “That was a close one.” Severus muttered.
Rupert collapsed on his brother’s bed. “What do you mean was? I have girls in each of the houses expecting me to ask them. I’m sacrificing my friendships for house politics, and now I’ve got Lucius flippin’ Malfoy owing me a favor. My life has become a bloody soap opera.”
“A soap opera?”
“It’s this show where everyone is seeing everyone else behind each other’s back, and … it’s a muggle thing; forget about it.”
“Gladly. So, would any of the girls in your study group happen to be on mother’s list?”