“Nurse, how long is he likely to sleep?” Giles asked, smiling slightly as Severus began snoring. He knew it was wrong to make fun of the man who was obviously sleeping in an unusual position and in a lot of pain, but part of him was tempted to videotape the moment for future use. Evidently, he hadn’t grown up nearly as much as he had believed.
“Oh, I would guess about four hours. Normally we don’t like to drug people who are just coming out of a concussion, but the doctor said these were special circumstances.” The nurse smiled at Giles, trying her best to look demure.
“Yes, I suppose so.” Giles guessed after the circumstances of their initial meeting, the doctor wouldn’t be too worried if Severus were to suffer a relapse of unconciousness. “Would it be alright if I run home for a few hours, freshen up and the like?”
“Go right ahead, sweetie.”
“Thank you.” Rupert grabbed his coat and left the room before the nurse could call him back. He needed some time alone to think. The streets of Sunnydale were quiet, and Rupert couldn’t help but think this was the perfect time of day. At dawn, the vampires and other demons were seeking shelter for the day, but the majority of people were still in their houses, giving the world a brief respite before everything became hectic again.
He fumbled with his keys as he opened his front door. There was something at the back of his mind, nagging him about this whole affair. Severus had been disoriented, which was to be expected after being hit by a bus, but wouldn’t he at least have expected Giles to be there if he was apparating towards his brother? If not to find his brother, why would he be in Sunnydale at all? Something was utterly wrong with the situation, but until he could have a talk with Sev, he wouldn’t be able to get to the bottom of it.
Tiredly, he dropped his keys on the front table and headed up the stairs, anxious for a hot shower. He hung his jacket up in the closet and went through his morning routine. Following his shower he glanced longingly at the bed, anxious for a few minutes rest. However, he knew himself well enough to realize a few minutes rest would turn into a few hours nap, and if Severus woke up in the meantime who knew what sort of damage would be done. He slipped on his wristwatch, put on his glasses, and slid his wallet into his back pocket.
Then pulled the wallet back out.
“Good lord, he didn’t apparate here.” He muttered under his breath.
“The password is ‘boomslang’.” The prefect muttered to the first years, looking each one in the eye. “The password is not to be revealed to anyone from another house. If the password is compromised, we will find out who did it and they will not like what will happen to them. Any questions?” The group of first years shook their heads earnestly.
“Very good.” He led them into the commons room in the brusque manner that had marked his earlier tour of the school. “Girls are to the right, boys to the left. You’re not allowed in the wrong dormitory room, so don’t even try. If you get caught, the Baron is in charge of deciding your punishment, and after being dead for so long, he’s developed quite a creative streak, trust me.”
The first years all paled at the thought of the blood thirsty ghost. “But what if I have to visit my sister?” One of the first years mumbled.
The prefect raised an eyebrow, but refused to comment on that. “You are now in Slytherin. This will be your home for the next seven years, provided you don’t do anything too disgraceful. I could give you the speech about how our house is the best, how the other houses do not understand the greatness that is Slytherin, how you may face difficulty with the other students but will undoubtedly triumph solely because you are Slytherins. However, I believe most of you already know that.” He eyed everyone carefully, resting his eyes on one boy with sandy brown hair, who was currently eyeing all the snakes above the fireplace instead of the prefect. “Everyone, except you that is.” The other first years seemed to take a step back from the boy with that pronouncement.
“It’s a dormitory.” The boy replied, turning his face to finally meet the prefect’s eyes. The rest of the first years gasped in dismay.
“Slytherin is more than just a dormitory…” The prefect began.
“Yes, yes, I’ve heard that speech before. But why should we expect problems from the other houses just based on where our trunks are? We haven’t even given them any reason to get mad yet. If you ask me, it all seems a bit overdramatic.” The boy observed shrugging off the glares he was getting from the older students.
“You don’t suppose the sorting hat made a mistake?” A girl finally muttered, breaking the prolonged silence.
“Quite possible.” The prefect muttered before remembering his role. “Curfew is at ten, nobody is to be out of their house after that, and you are to be in your room by midnight. The head of our house is Professor Jigger, who also teaches potions. If you have any questions, or perhaps would like to be re-sorted, speak with him.” The prefect shot a scathing glare at the boy who dared to speak up. “Now, I’m sure you all would like time to unpack and meet your new housemates, so get to it.” He shooed them off to their dorm rooms.
The first years hurried to their respective dorm rooms, anxious to unpack. “My mother says the sorting hat never makes mistakes, but I think after this year, she’ll have to reconsider.” Lucius said loud enough for the six other Slytherin boys to hear him.
“Yes obviously, that must be what happened.” Another boy agreed too eagerly, earning a questionable glance from the blonde. While Slytherins were the house for kiss-ups, normally they were not quite so obvious. “Well that is the only explanation I could think of. I mean, how else could Black be placed in Gryffindor while we get a mudblood?”
Rupert glanced up at the blonde but decided to ignore the boy who was obviously just fishing for a reaction.
“What do you think, Severus?” Lucius turned to the boy who was quite happy to be left alone in the corner.
“About what?” Severus asked, surprised that Lucius would even bother to speak with him.
“About whether the sorting hat made a mistake, or possibly two?”
“I suppose it will remain to be seen.” Severus commented, knowing better than to say anything that could be used against him.
“Is that what you think, Evan?” Lucius asked one of the other boys who looked wealthy enough to deserve Lucius’ attention.
“Well, as I see it…” Rupert rolled his eyes. Evidently Evan was perfectly willing to have an opinion on everything. “Sirius got what was coming to him. He always did seem a bit off, if you know what I mean.” Some of the other boys snickered.
“As for the other mistake…” Everyone turned to stare at Rupert as he pulled more stuff out of his trunk. As he placed his wallet in the bedside table and set the alarm clock, the boys gawked. “He doesn’t even have a wizarding clock! My father says that the last half-blood to be sorted into Slytherin was back in Grindewald's time. He’s not even a half-blood, is he?”
“Yes it does seem a bit odd, doesn’t it?” Lucius smiled. “And what’s this?” He grabbed the wallet from the desk. “What does it do?” He unfolded the leather, and picked out the pound notes. “Muggle money? This is hardly acceptable.”
“It’s not for here, you twit. It’s for the rail fare home.” Rupert replied, and tried to swipe the wallet back, but Lucius tossed it off to Severus, who caught it.
“Give it back!”
“Or what?” Severus asked, arching his brow.
Rupert went right up to Severus’ face and growled. “I’ll tell your mother.”
“My mother was a Slytherin. She’d understand. Your father, on the other hand, may not like finding out that his son lost all his money on the first night.” Severus whispered back.
“I said give it back.”
“You’ll have to earn it back.”
“I warned you, and you had to be a Slyth anyway. It’s your own fault.” Severus enjoyed finally getting back at his step-brother; the nerve of the little worm, getting sorted into his house. “Catch.” Severus tossed the wallet towards Argentius Rookwood, who had been quiet up until that point.
Argentius held up the wallet. “What the heck is this? Are you too poor to get pockets in your robe?”
“Give that back.” Rupert glared.
“Make me.” Argentius grinned and tossed the wallet on before Rupert could pounce. Unfortunately, the boy had no skills at catch, and Rupert was able to intercept it.
“And now we know who won’t be on the quidditch team.” Lucius drawled, staring at Argentius with clear disappointment. The smaller boy blushed guiltily, ashamed to have let down his house on the first night.
Rupert meanwhile, had pulled more things out of his trunk. The boys watched with curiosity as the muggle-born took out a small flask of water, and began dripping from it while walking around his bed and all his possessions. “Is that some muggle thing?” Evan asked, obvious scorn in his voice.
Lucius and Severus were watching the scene more carefully. Rupert pulled a small silver cross from his trunk and hung it on his bed post. He knelt in front of it, and began mumbling, his hands held as if in prayer. “Merlin, of all the mudbloods, we had to get the religious nut.” Evan rolled his eyes.
With a final “Amen,” Rupert touched the cross then prepared for bed.
Severus was scowling. His step-brother should have known better. He had warned him that Slytherins were magical purists, and didn’t take to silly muggle notions like the Church of England. He had warned him that Slytherins always tested the waters first, and would remember first impressions far more than the rest of the houses. This was a disaster that even a letter home to his mother could not resolve. The only thing that could be worse is if Rupert actually announced that Severus was related to him.
Lucius sauntered over in his direction. “Do you know what he was doing?” He whispered.
“It looked like he was praying.” Severus replied in an equally quiet voice.
“Yes, it looked that way, didn’t it.” Lucius muttered, watching as Rupert jumped between his sheets and pulled his curtains closed as if to go straight to sleep. He motioned Argentius over.
“You know, you could make up for your lackluster earlier performance by snatching his wallet now.”
“But he’s asleep.”
“Oh.” Argentius nodded. The rest of the boys gathered round Sev’s bed, which had the best vantage point, as Argentius snuck across the room. Through the silence, they could hear the light snoring coming from Rupert’s bed. Just as the boy reached into the trunk, a flash of light startled the boys. “Ah! My hand!” Argentius yelled.
Sure enough, his hand was red and swollen. “Hurts like hell, doesn’t it?” Rupert asked poking his head out the curtains. “I must admit, I thought Slytherins would have enough wit to wait for me to really fall asleep first, but then, we are first years.”
“What was that?” Rastaban asked what was on everyone’s mind.
“That little baby came from a spell book in my muggle father’s personal collection. Not too bad, considering I could hardly walk the circle behind the bed.” Rupert shrugged. “Now show me your hand.”
“You’re not supposed to practice magic outside of classwork.” Rastaban commented earning death glares from all of them.
“Oh, that won’t show up on any of their radars.” The group stared at him, not understanding his slang. “They watch you by recording your wand actions. That was wandless.” They continued staring. “I thought you said this was the bright house.” Rupert stared pointedly at Severus. “Now, Rookie, show me your hand.”
“Do you think I’m that dumb?” Argentius Rookwood stared at the muggleborn with a new appreciation.
“Oh for heaven’s sake.” Rupert grabbed a tube of antiseptic and some bandages. “The spell will wear off with this, or at least it should if you’re all human. You’re not a vampire are you?” Rupert looked hopefully at the young boy.
“No.” Argentius pouted, but finally offered his hand to the other boy. Rupert carefully applied the cream to the reddest parts of the hand, and wrapped it with bandages. “See, good as new, or at least will be by tomorrow. Now, if there will be no more meddling with my things, may I go to bed?”
“Wait.” Lucius ordered. Rupert paused. “You say that spell was in your father’s collection?”
“You heard me.”
“But you admit your father is a muggle.”
“I suppose, by your worldview.”
“And just what precisely do you mean by that?”
Rupert glanced at Severus, but his step-brother offered him no advice for getting out of this trap.
“In your world, all magic folk have wands, and all non-magic folk don’t. I’m just saying, my family has worked with magic for generations, and we’ve never needed a wand.”
“And how is that possible?”
“His father trains the vampire slayer.” Severus spoke up.
“Thanks, Sev. You know, you’re not supposed to go gabbing that around.”
“Well, it can hardly ruin your reputation now.”
“The vampire slayer? The chosen one?” Lucius’ interest was perked.
“Wicked.” One of the other boys whispered.
“Yes, well, there you have it. That’s how someone can be pureblood magic without ever setting foot in Hogwarts. Happy now?” Rupert asked sarcastically, and was surprised when Lucius offered his hand.
“Welcome to Slytherin.”