Rupert's Rules of Order
“You’re going the wrong way.” Severus said, yet again.
“What? No, I’m not.”
“Yes you are.”
“Trust me, I know how to get from my house to the hospital clinic.”
“This isn’t the way we came from the hospital earlier.”
“That’s because we’re going to the clinic rather than the emergency ward. The entrances are on different streets.” Giles patiently explained.
“I still think you’re going the wrong way.”
“Fine. I’m going the wrong way, but we’ll still get to where we’re going. See, it’s that lot right ahead.” Giles pointed at the sign just two lights up from where the car was stopped.
“Fine, but we wouldn’t be late if you had gone the other way.”
“What other way?”
“The way we took going to your house the first time.”
“That’s not the right way to get to where we’re going.”
“Yes it is.”
“Mr. Snape,” Giles looked down his nose at his brother, “how long have you lived on the Hellmouth, hmm? Trust me. I know where we’re going.”
“We’re still going to be late.” Severus said, as they pulled into the parking lot with just a minute to spare before his scheduled appointment.
“If I thought for a single minute we’d be seen immediately, I would care, but honestly, it’s not worth the effort. Just you watch, we’ll have to sit in the waiting room for at least half an hour regardless of what time we arrive.”
“Why would we have to do that? That would be a substantial waste of our time and thoroughly inefficient. You never have to wait that long for an appointment at St. Mungo’s.”
“Welcome to the wonders of modern medicine.” Giles muttered as he parked the large vehicle carefully. He pulled the wheel chair out and brought it around to Severus’ door and then helped his brother down into the waiting chair. “Now, note that we are within one minute of the scheduled appointment time.” Giles said, closing the car door.
“That’s one minute on the late side.” Severus remarked as Giles wheeled him to the sliding glass doors.
“That’s within the acceptable margin of error for any clock.”
Giles ignored Severus' snort, and pushed the wheel chair to the sign in desk. The nurse had him sign a few papers on behalf of his brother. “Now, if you could just take a seat in our waiting area. Our doctors are bit behind today, but someone will be along to see you in a few minutes.
Giles pushed Severus into the waiting room and then settled into the chair closest to Sev’s wheelchair. “You see, there really was no need for us to rush.” Giles said, pulling a catalog out of his bag.
“On the contrary, your pessimism was unwarranted. She said someone would be along to see us in just a few minutes.”
“They always say that. Do you want something to read?”
“No. I would hate to get into something only to be interrupted in a few minutes.”
“Suit yourself.” Giles settled into his chair, flipping through the ordering catalog to see what his shop just couldn’t live without for the next month’s order.
Fifteen minutes later, Severus was still staring stonily ahead, refusing to pick up a book in case they were called. “Do you suppose they forgot about us?”
“No. They know we’re here. They’re just taking their time.”
“But it’s been fifteen minutes. That’s ridiculously long.”
“What do you want me to do about it?” Giles sighed, not even looking up from the complicated order form he was trying to fill out.
“Go up to the desk and check on them.” Severus ordered. Wearily Giles got up, spent a minute or so chatting with the desk clerk, then returned to his seat. “Well? Are they going to see us now?”
“She said it would be a few minutes.”
“But it’s already been a few minutes.”
“Yes, but muggles believe that time is relative.” Giles quipped in response.
“What a preposterous notion. Everyone knows that time is fixed and space is relative.” Severus shook his head. “Muggles.”
“Yes they are.” Giles agreed, returning to the matrix of flax dyes. “Would you like a book to read? I brought a few, just in case.” Giles offered as he contemplated whether it was worth purchasing indigo-dyed flax, or if the natural hue would meet the needs of his customers. The blue fiber would do nicely for some of the companionship spells the college girls tended to cast.
“No, there’s no use when we’ll be seen any minute now.”
“Suit yourself.” Giles checked off the box for one flat of indigo flax, and on a whim decided to add a clay-dyed flat as well. Browns and reds were always popular during autumn, and if they didn’t sell, at least Anya could use them to help string up decorations.
Fifteen minutes later, Severus cleared his throat. “What is it this time?” Giles asked, beginning to get annoyed at being interrupted every three minutes to be ordered to check with the front desk.
“I’ve decided to take you up on the offer for reading material.” Severus quietly admitted to his boredom.
“What? Now? That’s rather pointless. We’re going to be called any minute now.”
“Why would they call us now when they haven’t during the past half hour? I’m beginning to think I shall die in this hospital waiting room.”
“I told you that it would be half an hour. I know what I’m talking about. I came here for therapy for nearly a year after Buffy’s ex-boyfriend decided to try his hand at torture.”
“You were tortured?” Severus sounded faintly impressed.
“Yes, I was tortured.” Giles was already regretting bringing it up in the first place.
“He must have been an amateur; you don’t look badly injured.”
“I assure you Angelus was not an amateur.” Giles felt like smirking when he saw the look of recognition on his brother’s face. “You of all people should know better than that.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing.” Giles closed his ordering catalog and tucked it back into his bag. “I just thought that your master would have demonstrated how it is possible to torture someone without leaving long lasting marks.”
“I don’t think Lord Voldemort particularly cared about his victims.”
“I meant his minions.”
“You meant me.” Severus frowned.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if that were the case.” Giles admitted.
“Alright, I admit that it is possible to torture without leaving disfigurements. However, I would not think a vampire would be capable of such restraint.”
“Clearly you’ve never meet any vampires.”
“No I have not. Now, may I have a book to read?”
“No. There’s no need.” Giles said just as the nurse called for Steven Giles. “Half an hour on the dot, how about that?”
“That means nothing.” Severus fumed while admitting to himself that for once, Giles might actually have been right about something.
“Black.” Severus glanced up from the Slytherin table. What better way to start a week than with a visit from Sirius Black, or as Sev liked to think of him, the anti-Merlin.
“Where’s your brother?”
“How should I know?”
“Probably with his girlfriend.” Lucius said from the seat next to Severus.
“Which girlfriend?” Rookie asked, earning a cuff to his head.
“I have a bone to pick with him.” Sirius’ eyes narrowed.
“And how is that different from every other day?” Severus asked.
“This time, it’s personal.”
“I’ll be sure to let him know that you have an extra special personal message, or excuse me… bone did you say? … for him.” Severus poured as much innuendo as possible into those words.
Sirius growled and stormed away, followed by Peter and James, but Remus hesitated. “He shouldn’t have messed with Meggie.”
“Don’t tell me. I’ve told him that a dozen times at least.”
“Yes, I’m sure you have.” Remus smirked then glanced away to see his gang already at the Gryffindor table. “Well, I better go. Have a good day.”
“I don’t trust him.” Lucius watched the Gryffindor table suspiciously.
“I know; Black’s a pillock.”
“I meant Lupin.”
“Are you pulling my leg? He’s the only one of them who doesn’t have something up his sleeve.”
“Now that’s unfair, cous’. Clearly Pettigrew doesn’t have anything up his sleeve.” Rastaban added. “He’d have to stop wearing his robes inside out for anything to stay up his sleeves.”
The boys laughed at Rabbie’s joke. “Yeah, he’s such an idiot.” Rookie chimed in. Severus and Lucius shared a glance before breaking into new peals of laughter.
“What’s so funny?” Narcissa asked as the girls noticed the boys were far too cheerful for a Monday morning.
“The plan is working, darling.” Lucius replied.
“Black and Giles.”
“Oh.” Narcissa returned to her friends. Of all the current schemes, she found that one the least interesting. After all, two of the three pawns were Gryffindors.
“So now, the question is, do we let Ru know that Black’s mad?” Evan asked.
“I said I would.” Severus answered.
“True, but it would be more amusing if the fight was spontaneous.” Damon mused.
“But, in a spontaneous fight, Rupert would be far more likely to lose. He hasn’t had dueling.”
“Well, that will teach him not to sign up for choir.”
“While I wouldn’t mind him learning that lesson from a Ravenclaw, or Merlin forbid, Hufflepuff, this is Gryffindor we’re talking about.” Sev tried to stick up for Rupert.
“Fine, you may tell him.” Lucius granted. “Of course, you’d actually have to see him first. Where is the git?”
“He’s skipping breakfast. He said something about getting to potions early.” Evan informed the group.
“Since when have you been Rupert’s keeper?” Severus barked.
“I ran into him getting ready this morning.” Evan looked at Severus like he had lost his mind, snapping like that.
“Well, then perhaps we should be getting to potions early as well. It would be a pity to miss the fireworks.” Whether they were finished eating or not the boys got up at Lucius’ order. They arrived to find Rupert busily at work at his bench. “What are you doing?”
“Good morning, Lucius. Hello everyone.” Rupert kept his focus on decanting his potion into small glass vials. “I’m not running that late, am I?”
“Late for what?” Lucius was losing his patience. He wasn’t used to his Slytherins ignoring him for so long.
“I’m assuming Black is in a snit.”
“Well, that show you put on in the front hall yesterday didn’t help.”
“That’s nothing compared to the scene on the bridge.” Rupert muttered, tidying up as fast as possible.
“What scene at the bridge?”
“Oh nothing.” Rupert sighed absently, sprinkling a ring of sea salt around his work bench. “Ring of salt, hint of thyme, protect this bench, bless this rhyme.” He muttered.
“Oh dear Merlin, you’re not trying to use that sort of potion in here, are you?” Severus snorted.
“It beats nothing.” With several quick swishes of his wand, Rupert had cleaned up his bench leaving nothing but a row of brightly colored vials and a ring of salt on the floor. “Whew, done and I still have twenty minutes. So how are all of you?” Rupert finally stopped bustling around and looked up at his classmates.
“We asked you first.” Lucius snarled.
“Right. Well, I’m just getting ready for class.” The looks he was getting said they clearly weren’t buying it. “I’m assuming Black is getting ready for a fight first chance he gets, which would be before class. Thus, I’ve been working on some things in case.” He picked up one of the vials.
“It’s a bomb of flagelliosis.” Severus answered for Rupert. “Interesting idea, but highly likely to backfire.”
“What? How?” Rupert frowned.
“Well, I assume you planned to launch it by hand. Either your aim must be perfect, or you brewed it at a strength to take down more than mone person, and hence you have the problem of collateral damage.”
“I’m not too worried about that. In fact, I should get double points, if I take down Potter.”
“Sounds rather complicated. I don’t see why you didn’t just sabotage his things. Look they’re sitting right here.” Rookie started over towards the Gryffindors’ benches.
“Stop!” Rupert cried.
“Or maybe you have sabotaged his things.” Rastaban grinned, “Perhaps you’re not a lost cause after all.”
“I’d rather not say one way or the other. Plausible deniability, you understand. The only thing I fess up to is shielding my desk.”
“I’m impressed.” Lucius smirked.
“Well, I’m not.” Severus frowned. “Do you honestly think that Jigger hasn’t charmed his room against saboteurs?”
“I don’t know, has he?” Rupert snapped back.
“Most jinxes and hexes won’t work here, and I helped him ward against explosions this summer so those vials won’t work in here.” Severus answered, knowing the rest of the Slytherins were filing that information away as well.
“My work still holds. I doubt Jigger warded against non-wand spells, and this isn’t wand magic.” Rupert glared at Severus. Sure it was easy to point out all the flaws in his plan now, but where was Sev when he was trying to come up with this last night?
“There’s only one way to find out.” Before Rupert could react, Severus picked up a scale weight from the side table and threw it at Rupert’s cauldron. At the edge of the bench, the weight stopped in the air and fell straight to the floor.
“Hey, that could have dented my cauldron!” Rupert yelped.
“It should have dented your cauldron.” Severus agreed with a frown. “I’ll be damned, your shield actually works.” Rupert smiled. “I’ll have to tell Jigger about this.” Rupert’s face fell.
“At least wait until tomorrow. I want to see how this all plays out. Finally things are getting interesting this year.” Lucius ordered.
“Most likely it will all be for naught since Black wouldn’t dare strike in potions. He’s more likely to strike in the hall where he’s less likely to be caught.” Severus just had to be the bearer of bad news.
“I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.” Rupert sat down nervously glancing back at the desk.
“Whatever convinced you to go after MacDuff in the first place? She’s a wild one.” Evan muttered.
“Temporary insanity, clearly.” Severus answered for his brother.
“Um, guys, show time.” Rookie said, watching the Gryffindors come down the hall from his his vantage point in the back of the room.
“Giles.” Black growled as he stepped into the room, flanked by Potter and Lupin.
“Black.” Rupert replied politely, adding a smile just to annoy him.
“You missed breakfast.”
“I’m touched you should notice.”
“Are you too chicken to come to meals now?” Black smiled ferally.
“Why ever should I be afraid of breakfast? The house elves haven’t taken to making blood sausage again, have they?” Rupert asked his fellow Slytherins, who to their credit, kept straight faces as they shook their heads.
“They might make blood sausages with what’s left of you when I’m through.”
“Come now, Black, why all this hate? What have I ever done to you?” Rupert tried to ignore the Slytherins’ none-too-subtle coughing the litany of his pranks under their breath.
“You touched my Meggie, and now you’ll have to pay.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Are you too chicken to fight?”
“Oh come on! Surely you can’t believe that line works on anyone outside of Gryffindor? We outnumber you seven to three.”
“There are four of us.” Sirius retorted.
“If you’re counting Pettigrew as an asset, you’re more desperate than I thought.”
"It doesn’t matter. I challenge you to a wizard duel, mago a mago.”
“In the ten minutes before class?” Rupert asked incredulously.
“You aren’t in dueling. It’ll be over quick.”
“Alright, gentlemen,” Lucius quickly stepped into the role of referee. “Five paces, starting now.” Not having much clue what was going on, Rupert mirrored Sirius taking five steps backwards.
“Hey, Lils, Margaret, you’re just in time. Black here has challenged me for your hand.” Rupert called to the girls you just walked in.
“Really? Oh goody!” Margaret squealed, earning an eye roll from Lily.
“Silence!” Lucius shouted, enjoying the lime light. “Spectators step back; they need space. Wands at the ready!”
Sirius had his wand up, practically twitching in anticipation. Rupert slipped a glass vial into his right hand, loosely holding his wand with his left. “At my mark… Go!”
Sirius, swished, flicked, and threw out a violent hiccupping charm. Rupert threw his vial at the stones Sirius was standing on. Sirius’ charm fizzled out as Jigger’s wards took effect. However, Jigger couldn’t ward against potions, so as the vial shattered, the fumes caused Sirius to collapse into a pile of floppy limbs.
“Merlin, Ru, I can’t believe you won.” Margaret was the first to speak. “Almost makes me sad we broke up last night.”
“You what?” Sirius shrieked from his place on the floor.
“We broke up.” Rupert smiled down at the Gryiffindor. “Artistic differences, you see.”
“Why I ought to…” If Sirius could stand up, Rupert would have been introduced to his fist. Luckily the potion made his limbs too wobbily to stand.
At that moment, Jigger entered from his office. “Alright class, in your seats.” There was a lot of scrambling as the Slytherin girls snuck in, late as usual. Potter and Lupin tried to prop Black up in his desk, but he slid out of the chair, collapsing on the floor.
“Mr. Black, please take your seat or I will be forced to remove points.”
“Five points from Gryffindor.” “But sir!” “Make that ten!”
Severus leaned over to his brother. “Congratulations.” He whispered. “I didn’t think you’d pull it off.”
“You know occasionally I have a clue what I’m doing.”
“I suppose. You’re just normally better at hiding it.”