A Dose of Dumbledore
Giles stared up at the ceiling. The headlights of a passing car momentarily lit up the room, but the darkness quickly resumed. He was tired. It had been a long day, a long patrol, and a long night. So why couldn’t he fall asleep?
Maybe it was the sound of Severus snoring. The man could saw logs with the best of them, and no surprise, with a nose like that. Giles bit back the uncharitable thought. The man had just been through a major accident, and was still recovering. Undoubtedly he would stop snoring in time. He couldn’t remember Sev snoring so loudly back when they shared a dorm, so it was probably just an effect of sleeping with casts. Of course, it could be possible that Sev had been casting silence charms on his bed every night since he was eleven. Either way, it didn’t help Giles fall asleep now.
No, if he was being perfectly honest with himself, it wasn’t that Severus snored; it was that Severus was right. The gas leak had been nothing more than a gas leak and if Giles had just taken Severus’ word on it, perhaps they could have surprised the wizard earlier and had a grown wizard to question rather than just a shoe.
On the other hand, if they had ignored the gas leak, they would have more likely patrolled one of the newer cemeteries and missed the wizard completely. No, fate had been on their side, handing them the wizard, and how had he taken advantage of their luck? By getting knocked out within a minute of the fight. He had been replaying the patrol all evening in his head and could identify at least a dozen different instances where he could have made things right, or at least better.
“Rupert?” A quiet voice called up the stairs.
Giles threw on his robe and slippers, ashamed he hadn’t noticed the snoring stopping earlier. “Are you alright? Did I forget to give you your pills?” Giles asked on his way down the stairs.
“I just wanted a glass of water. I would have summoned it myself, but I seem to be missing my wand.” Severus muttered.
“You’re missing your wand precisely so that you don’t try summoning water at midnight so close to the Hellmouth. I’m not sure my kitchen could survive such an assault.”
“So, since you were already awake, I decided to ask.” Severus continued, ignoring Giles.
Giles went to the kitchen and filled a cup with water. He returned to the bed and helped his brother to sit up. “How did you know I was still awake?”
“You were thinking too loud.” Severus took a sip of water. “Besides, you normally snore when you sleep.”
“I do not!” Severus arched his brow. “Well, I certainly don’t snore as loud as you.”
“I don’t snore!” Severus retorted and it was Giles’ turn to look incredulous. “If I do now, it’s because of these muggle drugs. Clearly they have unpredicatable side effects.” The two men sat quietly for a few minutes as Severus sipped. “I know I’m going to regret asking, but what were you think about?” Severus asked as he handed the empty cup back to Giles.
“I was just thinking about patrol tonight. I just wish I had caught a better sight of the wizard before he apparated. Maybe I could have identified him so we’d know who to guard against.” Giles got up to put the cup away.
“You know, Albus Dumbledore once told me – be thankful time runs in but one direction, because you can always hold yourself responsible for future success, but the responsibility for repairing the past is out of your hands.”
“What on earth is that supposed to mean?” Giles asked, pausing at the base of the stairs.
“How should I know? I always thought it was utter codswollop myself, but it’s late, and you’re maudlin, so clearly, the situation called for some advice from Dumbledore. Unfortunately, he’s not here, so you’ll have to make due with my memories.”
“Albus Dumbledore, now there’s someone I haven’t heard from in a long while.” Giles sat down on the stairs.
“I didn’t realize you ever corresponded.” Severus frowned, feeling almost cheated to know his wayward step brother also kept up with his headmaster.
“Oh, we didn’t. I only heard about him from Gran. Tell me, did you ever get the feeling that after Pa died, there was something going on between…”
“Please don’t finish that sentence; some of us want to sleep tonight. Albus is a great wizard. Gran was a great witch. It’s only natural that they should be friends.”
“Close friends, though… close enough that Dumbledore executed Gran’s will?” Giles couldn’t believe he hadn’t thought of it sooner.
“He did indeed, and you’re entitled to half of her personal library if you ever go to Hogwarts to claim it.”
“He’s the one with my phone number! He sent you here.”
“You’re just now figuring that out?”
“Well yes, but that’s good news isn’t it? Dumbledore wouldn’t give my phone number to the Death Eaters.”
“The question of who sent me here is rather academic compared to the question of who won the battle. The winning side will determine my fate, and Albus is casting his lot with some extraordinarily lucky teenagers. I can’t trust that the luck won’t run out. Even if Albus sent me here, it doesn’t rule out anyone that might be following me. After all, you got a good enough view of the wizard to know it wasn’t Dumbledore.”
“I suppose you’re right.” Giles sighed.
“If you’ve solved your mystery for the night, can you go back to bed? I’d rather not be awaken by your sighing all night long.”
“Fine.” Giles took a step up, “But tomorrow, you and I are going to discuss this. I shouldn’t have to come up with answers at midnight to questions you know all along. I know, you think part of being a wizard is being terribly enigmatic around all of us mugglefolk, but it’s inefficient and might just be the death of you.”
“We can discuss my insecurities as a wizard once I’ve got my wand back. Good night, Muddy.” Severus shot back.
“Hello, what’s this?” Rupert froze as he passed the side parlor of Westbury Manor. He had lived in this house since he was born, and he couldn’t recall ever seeing a fireplace in this room.
“What’s what?” Severus stopped short behind Rupert. “Hurry up, my trunk is heavy.”
Rupert picked his trunk back up, and continued down the hallway towards the boys’ quarters. “Nana, when did we get a fireplace in the front parlor?” He asked the servant who was following the boys, gingerly carrying the Snape family owl in a cage.
“Isn’t that just the most peculiar thing? I would have said it couldn’t have been done, adding one in the middle of the room like that, but the lady insisted on it, and you know how Sir Bradford is. He can’t possibly say no to his missus.” Nana shook her head. “They had workmen in here for nearly a fortnight last month- supposedly hooking it up to the network. I don’t see any advantage to connecting all the chimneys in the house; I’d imagine it would just let the soot spread farther, but then, that never was my cup of tea.”
“Really? Hooking it up to the network?” Severus perked up at that.
“You heard me. Workmen in and out, with Mrs. Giles overseeing everything. It’s an impressive fireplace, that’s for sure; large enough for Sir Bradford to stand in and he’s not such a small fellow. I’m hoping she doesn’t see fit to redecorate the entire manor next. The side parlor can take a few improvements, but I don’t know how the Giles ancestors would feel about any new tinkering in the ball room.”
“I’m sure my mother would not add anything too atrocious for the Giles sense of decorum.” Severus finally spoke, setting his trunk down in front of his door.
“Begging your pardon, Mr. Giles. I just meant that it was a rather big change for the ol’ Manor.”
“If my mother has added a fireplace, I’m sure she had a good reason for doing so, and I’m sure Mr. Giles was not against the idea.” Severus growled the name Giles, resenting that the muggleworld had seen fit to forget the noble house of Snape.
“Of course.” Nana was flustered, never quite trusting the surly teenager.
“Please set my owl down.” Severus snapped.
“Right away.” Nana set the owl cage down on the truck, quickly backing away as the large owl snapped at the bars. “Will you two be needing anything else?” Nana looked hopefully at Rupert.
“I think we’ll be alright unpacking on our own, thank you Nana. Did father mention any plans for dinner by any chance?”
“I believe your parents are expecting friends of Mrs. Giles. You’re to be dressed properly for a six o’clock supper.”
“Thanks, Nana.” Rupert offered as he dragged his trunk into his room.
“If that will be all, I’ll be getting back to the kitchen.” Nana offered before leaving the two boys to unpack.
Severus had just dragged his trunk to its place at the foot of his bed when Rupert entered without knocking. “You know, it wouldn’t hurt you to be nice to Nana for once.”
“I was polite.” Severus shrugged, unpacking his fourth year texts.
“What? Do you expect me to be best friends with the servants that still consider my mother to be a freak? How nice do you think Nana would be to you if she knew what you did at Hogwarts?”
“I’m sure she didn’t mean it like that. My father did loads of crazy stuff before he even met your mother, and it never fazed Nana.” Rupert jumped up on Severus’ bed, content to watch his fellow Slytherin hang his school uniform up for yet another summer. “Besides, being on Nana’s good side has privileges. She’s always been willing to help me sneak food out of the kitchen or wrap Christmas gifts for me, or any number of odd tasks.”
“How lovely for you.” Severus sighed. “But I doubt I’ll be staying around this summer long enough to take advantage of any such privileges. Professor Jigger said he wanted me to start my apprentice training earlier this summer.”
“That’s awful; you’ll hardly have any holidays at all.”
“I don’t do anything with the break anyway. Besides, undoubtedly, you’ll be starting up with Quentin again. You won’t have time to do anything else then.”
“Please, don’t remind me. I’m hoping Quentin was stationed some place like Aukland or Bolivia.”
“We should be so lucky. Of course, your father would probably just assign you to a different junior watcher then, and what if you got one that wasn’t as easy to trick as Quentin?”
“True, that would make for a long summer.” Rupert rolled over, and picked up a pillow from the bed. “You know, you’re going to have an unfair advantage on the OWLs with all this potions practice. You better let me know if you learn anything useful.”
“Of course, and likewise with you and the runes. Don’t even try to say Quentin doesn’t drill you on them. Owl me if you learn any big trick to deciphering.”
“Hey, maybe I won’t have to owl you. We’re on the floo network now.” Rupert grinned, as he flipped the pillow back and forth.
“You think so? I thought they wouldn’t install a port at a muggle residence.” Severus mused, digging into his trunk to get out his dress robes.
“Well, father and Cassandra have been trying to convince the Ministry that we’re not a muggle residence for some years now.”
“Floo access, wouldn’t that be tops.” Severus grinned. “I could apprentice at Hogwarts and stay here.”
“Would you really want to do that?”
“No, of course not. What if I needed to check a potion at midnight? No, it’s just nice to know it may be an option now.”
“True.” Rupert glanced at the small clock on Severus’ wall. “Is that clock right?”
“I think so.” Severus glanced up at it. “Merlin!”
“Fifteen minutes to supper.” Rupert threw the pillow down and headed for his room. “What did Nana mean, your mother’s friends?”
“Merlin only knows.” Severus called back, trying to find his
muggle dinner suit.
The boys were still straightening their ties as the rounded the corner to the main dining room. “Welcome home, I see Nana delivered the message.” Sir Bradford looked critically over the two boys. “Cassandra is seeing to our guest in the front parlor. We should let them know you’re ready. That is, if you are indeed ready?”
Rupert looked questioningly at Severus who rolled his eyes and flipped Rupert’s collar down for him. “That’s better.” Sir Bradford relaxed a bit, seeing that his sons were indeed presentable.
“Father, we couldn’t help but notice the new fireplace.” Rupert began hesitatingly.
“You did, did you? Well, it is a rather noticeable addition.” Sir Bradford’s lips twitched in what passed for his smile.
“We were wondering if by any chance, the addition was connected to the floo network.”
“It is, in fact, connected to the floo network. Cassandra has used it a few times now, but this will be our first visitor to arrive by floo.”
“So our dinner guests are wizards?” Severus questioned, suddenly much more self-concious. It was one thing to dress nicely for the watcher’s crowd, it was quite another to be entertaining wizarding society. He should have worn his formal robes.
“Just one wizard. I’m afraid Professor Jigger had to cancel.”
“Professor Jigger?” But Severus’ questions remained unanswered as they stopped shortly before the door to the front parlor. Sir Bradford opened the door and took a step into the parlor. “Alright dear, the boys have arrived. Albus, I hope the trip wasn’t too uncomfortable.” He said, offering his hand to the sole visitor sitting on the brocade couch.
“No, it’s quite a smooth ride. Really, you have an excellent floo, Bradford.”
“The credit goes to Cassandra. She overtook the details.” Sir Bradford nodded to his wife. “I trust that you two are ready for dinner?”
“That we are.” Albus offered cheerfully. The group made their way towards the dining room. “It’s so nice of you to invite me to dinner like this.”
“Well, it really has been too long.”
“Yes, I suppose I haven’t seen you two since the Annual Alchemy Society Banquet. Cassandra, have you made any advances on your research?”
“Honestly Albus, I don’t know when I’ll have the time to work on it. I should probably just publish the theory and see if any young turk cares to take up the challenge.”
“Perhaps your sons would consider helping you with it?” Albus glanced back at the two boys following behind the adults. “Cornelius tells me they’re both very competent in his class.”
“Well, that is an interesting consideration, although I doubt Severus would want to spend his time improving the wolfbane potion when he could be working with Cornelius on the sublimation potions. Isn’t that right dear?”
“What? Oh, of course, mother.” Severus nodded as he joined in the conversation. He glanced back at Rupert who could only shrug. “Professor Jigger says that we’ll be publishing the results before the year’s out, if this summer goes well.”
“You sound just like your father.” Cassandra muttered, resting a hand on her son’s back as she followed him in to the dining room. Severus blushed.
“So, what delightful concoction will we be sampling tonight?” Professor Dumbledore asked Mr. Giles. “Muggle cuisine seems to evolve at a rate faster than wizarding cuisine.”
“Why, I find that to be improbable.” Mr. Giles scoffed.
“Oh, but it is quite probable. Tell, me have you ever heard of a Twinkie?” Dumbledore asked as the first course was served.
“Why of course.”
“Isn’t it fascinating?”
“On the contrary, it’s quite common. I wouldn’t refer to it as a muggle delicacy at all.” Bradford scoffed. Cassandra shot her husband a wearying glare, as if to remind him of the futility of picking an argument with Dumbledore.
“Hmm, perhaps not a delicacy, but it is sheer brilliance. A cake with the frosting on the inside so that it can be taken anywhere and remain unspoilt; you must admit it is quite clever. I wonder, Rupert, if you were to present one of these Twinkies to your friend young Beatrice, if she would share the experience with her talented family.” Dumbledore mused.
“Rupert, what’s this about a girl?” Sir Bradford turned his attention to his son.
“A girl, Sir?” Rupert looked up from his bowl of soup, stunned that Dumbledore had even known about his group of friends outside of Slytherin. “Oh, you mean Beatrice Botts. She’s part of the interhouse study group I’m in. Her family operates a confectionary.” He blushed, hoping his father would accept that answer and not press on about the study group. It would not do for Sir Bradford to learn that his son had passed up an opportunity to study dueling in exchange for choir.
“It would do you well to interact with this Beatrice, Severus.” Cassandra chimed in, taking the pressure off Rupert. “While the Botts family is known for candy, there have been a fair number of important potions masters in their lineage.”
“I’m aware of that Mother, but Beatrice is a Hufflepuff.” Severus muttered, annoyed that this had suddenly turned on him. “We don’t have many classes with the Hufflepuffs.”
“Rupert seems to have made her acquaintance. Perhaps he can introduce you.”
“Of course, Mother.” Severus reluctantly agreed, as Rupert added, “I’ll do my best, ma’am.”
Dinner continued in the same annoying fashion. Albus would mention something that appeared to be a complete nonsequitor, but would some how force the boys to admit to school dealings they had conveniently forgotten to mention in any letter home.
“Well, it’s getting late. I suppose we best be off.” Albus announced as everyone stood up.
“We, Professor Dumbledore?” Rupert asked.
“Severus is returning to Hogwarts with me.”
“Yes, dear.” Cassandra nodded. “Professor Jigger assured me he had told you that you’d be starting earlier this year.”
“Well, yes, but this is rather earlier than I expected.” Severus frowned. “I haven’t had a chance to pack or anything.”
“You have time to pack now, Mr. Snape.” Professor Dumbledore interjected. “I actually need to discuss something with your parents first. Perhaps your brother will help you?”
“May I be excused mother; it appears I need to pack.” Severus said, his mind still processing the fact that he wouldn’t be spending a single night in his own bed.
“Of course, dear. You can bring your trunk to the front parlor when you’re finished.” She instructed. Rupert cast a glance at his father, who nodded in agreement.
The two boys set off for their suite of rooms. “Blast.” Severus muttered as he started piling things into his trunk again. “I’ve left my umbrella up at the front hall. I suppose I could transform something.”
“I’ll fetch it.” Rupert volunteered.
“Be sure to grab mine and not yours. I’ve seen how you’ve handled your things, and I don’t want to deal with any leaking umbrella.”
“Of course.” Rupert rolled his eyes. “It’s not like you’re going to use your umbrella anyway. You never see the light of day when you’re in a potions mood.”
“That’s not true; I get outside occasionally, such as every Hogsmeade weekend.” Severus countered, hoping that the mention of Hogsmeade would rile his brother, as it usually did.
“Fine, I’ll go fetch your umbrella, oh mighty outdoorsman.” Rupert conceded, deciding it would be safer to get out before either of them brought up any real touchy subjects. He ran down the hall, slowing down only as he neared the front parlor where his father and step mother were entertaining Dumbledore.
“Thank you again for bringing that information to my attention.” Dumbledore was saying. “I’ve presented it to the Ministry, but as you can imagine there’s a bit of resistance. There are some that believe a series of squib deaths should be handled by the muggle authorities, as squibs seldom stay in our community long.”
“But that’s ridiculous! Muggle police are in no position to handle wizard murderers.” Cassandra insisted.
“And, Mr. Giles, is your organization prepared to handle this?” Dumbledore asked, glancing at the door. Rupert ducked back out of sight, afraid to be caught listening in. Thankfully Dumbledore remained silent, so Rupert assumed he was not actually seen.
“If we were allowed to reveal the wizarding world to the Council properly, then maybe we could find an effective solution, but that’s a large if.”
“And a totally unacceptable alternative,” Albus finished the thought. “While I may be the strongest proponent of wizard and muggle unity, even I know that such a move would be disasterous if it’s born out of panic. If the Council were to feel the need to police the wizarding community on top of the demon communities, you would be greatly overwhelmed in a manner of days and the wizarding world would quickly resent the interference. No, some things are better kept separate.”
“These murders have already drawn the attention of the Council. It will only be a matter of time before we catch your people in the act, and what then? How many people will have to die first?”
“You are right; there have already been too many.” Dumbledore nodded sadly. “However, I think you give our people too much credit as well. We have not willfully been trying to hide murderers as much as we’ve just been ignorant of the facts. Now that you’ve drawn our attention to these attacks, we will be able to investigate them sooner, but we can not rewrite the past.”
“No, but you can try to prevent them. What about this symbol of the Knights of Walpurgis? Rupert has recognized it, and I’ve found supporting evidence that this symbol has been found both at the murder scenes and in association with the society. Clearly there’s a link.”
“What is clear to one is often muddied to many.”
“Does that mean that you and your people are going to ignore the one clue you have?” Rupert hadn’t heard his father so frustrated since that time he had injured Severus in a fencing accident.
“Mr. Giles, I assure you that we aren’t just going to ignore this. However, the charges your son brings are quite grave. The Knights of Walpurgis are a very secretive order, even amongst the wizarding folk. In fact, I had thought they had quite died out with the International Statute on Wizarding Secrecy, back in 1692, until Mr. Snape mentioned them.”
“Mr. Snape?” Cassandra frowned, assuming he meant Severus.
“Yes, Severus’ father was quite well placed in the Knights. He even asked if I were interested in joining after the Grindewald conflict.” Dumbledore stared into the empty fireplace. “I wonder…”
“That makes no sense. My husband never would have been involved with a group of murderers!” Cassandra insisted.
“Of course dear, I rather got the impression that the group mainly gathered to discuss politics and quidditch. However it is possible that the group has changed over time. Either way they would not be a group of wizards it would be wise to upset without due cause.”
“I would think that this would qualify as …” Rupert lost the end of Mr. Giles statement when he was tapped on the shoulder.
“Gah!” He muttered, turning around to see who poked him. “Why did you do that?”
“I’ve finished packing. I had no idea an umbrella would be such a difficult item to procure.” Severus answered.
“Shh.” Rupert hissed.
“You do have my umbrella, right?” Severus whispered.
“Yes, yes, it’s right here.” Rupert handed Severus the umbrella.
“What’s going on?”
“They’re discussing the killings. Evidently, the wizards aren’t going to take responsibility even if they were the killers.”
“That’s nonsense.” Severus rolled his eyes.
“Well, shh, listen and find out.” Rupert went back to his post at the door.
“Don’t listen at doors, it’s rude, and much too obvious for a Slytherin to be caught at.” Severus scolded, then passed Rupert to enter the parlor. As Severus pushed open the door, the adults froze.
“Damn, just when it was getting interesting.” Rupert muttered following after his brother.
“Ah, all ready for a stimulating summer of potions work, Mr. Snape?” Albus addressed Severus.
“Well, then, we really must be on our way. I’m sure you’ll want some time to settle into your quarters.”
Severus was about to step into the fireplace when Cassandra embraced him in a motherly hug. “Promise me you’ll behave for Professor Jigger?”
“Yes mother.” Severus blushed.
“This is a wonderful opportunity, Severus. Your father would be so proud of you.”
“I won’t let you down.” Severus mumbled, trying not to look at Rupert, who would undoubtedly be making fun of him.
“Alright, have a good summer, and perhaps we’ll see each other before the term?” She smiled, cheerfully, but Severus caught her wiping her eyes. It was really quite ridiculous that the woman had been sending him away for years now, and yet still got teary-eyed every time.
“Of course, mother.” Before she could open her mouth, he added. “And, I promise I’ll write often.”
“Well, if that’s all, I think we should be getting along.” Dumbledore offered kindly. “The floo stop is Hogwarts Headmaster’s Office.” To demonstrate, Albus Dumbledore stepped into the fireplace, called out Hogwarts Headmaster’s Office, and vanished in a poof of green smoke.
Severus grabbed his own handful of floo powder and stepped into the grate. “Bye, Rupert, don’t forget the runes! Good night, Mr. Giles.” He threw in the powder and with a call to Hogwarts Headmaster’s Office, vanished.
Severus stepped out to find himself in Dumbledore’s Office, cluttered with random gadgets and chattering portraits. “Now, wasn’t that a smooth ride? I must find out who Cassandra got to install her grates. Lemon drop?” Professor Dumbledore held out a small dish.
“No, thank you.” Severus turned his attention to the elder wizard.
“Well, I suppose you have several questions, namely why you are here so early.”
“That thought had crossed my mind.”
“If I’m not mistaken, your step brother seemed very interested in the murders.”
Severus blinked. He hadn’t expected the conversation to go in that direction. “I’m terribly sorry, but I did tell him he should announce his presence. Eavesdropping is a foul habit.”
“True, but we can not encourage curiousity in the classroom, and then be surprised if it spills over into other situations. I was actually wondering if you yourself shared this curiousity.”
“Well, I did try to help him research.”
“Good, good.” Dumbledore nodded. “Thanks to your mother’s letter, I have already alerted the aurors to the wizarding connection in those murders and they have started investigating. I’m afraid I was not at liberty to discuss those investigations tonight, but I’m sure your mother would be interested to know some of the findings, even if they are technically confidential in the Ministry.” Dumbledore stared into Severus’ eyes, and the boy couldn’t help but wonder if he was missing some major piece to the puzzle.
“There have been traces of potions found at the sites of several of the murders. The Ministry has asked Professor Jigger to assist with the investigation. Between the investigation and his personal research, you can see why he felt the need to have his apprentice arrive earlier. While you are not technically hired by the Ministry to investigate this, you will undoubtedly be a great help to Professor Jigger.”
“Yes sir.” Severus must have looked puzzled, because Dumbledore felt the need to add, “And, while this may increase your workload, I’m sure you’ll have plenty of time to correspond with your mother?”
“Oh! Yes sir.” Severus grinned as the full meaning of the conversation dawned on him.
“Excellent. Well, I better show you to your chambers.”
“I can find my own way. Aren’t they the same as last year?”
“Of course not, where would the fun in that be?” Albus grinned. “This summer we only have two wizards in training, so we gave the larger suite over to the witches. You may leave your trunk here, and the elves will deliver it to your room. Follow me.” Professor Dumbledore took off down the spiral staircase. “Did you know that you were to be the only wizard here this summer apprenticing? However, last week it came to my attention that I haven’t taken an apprentice in nearly a decade, and there was an excellent candidate interested in pedagogical studies. I think you two will get along splendidly. So tell me, have you ever tried a twinkie?”
“But I have seen them.” Severus quickly added, wondering how this would fit into the greater conversation scheme. “Rupert once got one from the kitchen, but our tutor made him throw it out because she claimed it would rot his teeth.”
“Poppycock.” Dumbledore muttered. He turned down the hallway, and Severus figured that they were heading towards the Hufflepuff house entrance. “Hrmm.” Albus froze at the point where the hallway split in two directions.
“Pardon, sir?” Severus wondered if it was possible for the headmaster to be lost in his own school.
“I was just thinking, is floo always green?”
“Yes, I believe so.”
“Fascinating.” Professor turned away from Hufflepuff and followed the hallway. “If you see him first, please ask Professor Jigger what he thinks the vapor form of floo would do.”
“Sorry, I don’t understand.”
“Floo is a powder as a solid, but it maintains an image, albeit green, as a plasma. I just wonder if it would act similarly as a vapor or even liquid.”
“Oh.” Severus nodded, although he didn’t quite understand the logic behind the question.
“Funny substance, floo. If I remember right from Professor Binns class, it was a cause of the Goblin Rebellion.”
“What isn’t a cause of a Goblin Rebellion?” Severus muttered, following Dumbledore down a set of stairs.
“What was that?”
“Nothing, sir.” Severus quickly answered.
“Ah, here we are.” The headmaster stopped in front of a painting of a wizard even muggles could recognize. “Galileo, this is Severus; he will be your other charge for the summer.”
“Hmm?” The elderly gentleman glanced up from the stack of papers he had been folding. “Oh, yes, the other boy, very good.”
“Severus, the password aeroplane.” Albus eyes twinkled at the password.
“Aeroplane?” Severus repeated, wondering just what sort of a password that was supposed to be.
“No, actually, this is a swan, see?” The man held up the piece of folded paper. “I can make an aeroplane if you prefer though.” The painting smiled beatifically at Severus.
Severus glanced curiously at Dumbledore before replying. “Could you just open the door?”
“I suppose.” The painting swung open to reveal a sitting room complete with fireplace, two desks, and several comfortable reading chairs. One of the chairs was currently occupied by a boy staring back at Severus.
“It was a lovely swan.” Albus told the painting, as he followed Severus inside. “Ah, I see you’re both here. I take it you two have met? Lovely, then I shall take my leave.”
“I wondered who’s trunk that was.” The boy nodded towards the trunk sitting in front of the small fireplace. “I take it you’re here for potions.”
“I am.” Severus swallowed the first thing on his tongue and settled for “And, I hear you’re here to study pedagogy, Lupin?”
“Call me Remus. It’s the summer, so there’s no need to drag house politics into this, right?”
“Of course not.” Severus wouldn’t let this Gryffindor think he was more sophisticated than a Slytherin. “You may call me Severus. Now, if you don’t mind, I think I shall go unpack before I become sick.”
“Alright.” Remus turned back to his book. “Your bedroom is on the left, and if you think you’re going to be sick, the bathroom is the middle door.”
“No problem. If we’re going to be roomies for the summer, we may as well get along. It will make the summer more amusing.”
“I’m not sure I’d go as far as to say amusing, but it will
undoubtedly be interesting.” Severus answered. As he dragged his trunk into his room, he couldn’t help but mumble. “And for once, I envy Rupert and his quality time with Quentin.”