What's a Hostage or Two?
“Where are you going? Wait, you’re not supposed to leave.” Severus objected as the nurse ducked out of the small office yet again.
“Relax, that’s the way it’s done here.” Giles muttered to his brother.
“But it makes no sense. She’s come and gone twice now and we have yet to see a real doctor.” Severus stared at a poster instructing people to quit smoking. “She just comes in here, pokes me, and leaves.”
“True, but asking her to stay in here won’t speed up the process.” Giles answered thinking that if anyone had a right to be bored, it was him. Watching someone get their blood pressure and temperature taken was even more boring than having the procedures done.
“What if we took her hostage and demanded they send a doctor as ransom?”
“In all your years of experience, have you ever seen a hostage situation go as planned?”
“I’ll have you know that the Death Eaters rarely bothered with hostages.”
“How charming.” Giles grimaced. “But I was thinking of more innocuous experiences.”
“I don’t think you can include class notes or familiars as true hostages. And if you do count those, then clearly the Hellmouth is not living up to expectations.”
“There have been plenty of hostage cases on the hellmouth. I think Buffy’s friends have been taken at least four times, and every time Buffy has prevailed in rescuing them, and the villain has been foiled.”
“I doubt Buffy will rescue the nurse without at least bringing a doctor.”
“Perhaps, but it would most likely slow down the whole process.”
“Do you mean it is possible to be even slower than it currently is? I find that hard to believe.”
“I know. In fact it will probably be long after dark before we get home.” Giles glanced at his watch.
“You won’t be able to meet with your slayer. Oh how tragic.” Snape smirked.
“Perhaps, but there is the slight possibility that she followed my instructions and will be patrolling the hospital tonight, in which case I might run into her.”
“I doubt her patrol will take her to this room.”
“No, but as soon as the doctor arrives, I will be taking my leave to do some exploring.”
“You heard Spike. There’s something odd on the sixth floor. It could be the result of obliviating charm abuse.”
“You’re leaving me with muggles?”
“You were with muggles for half a week and nothing happened.”
“But we know there’s a wizard looking for me.”
“You have your wand; you can defend yourself.”
“In front of muggles?”
“Trust me. On the Hellmouth you could do your transfiguration practical in front of muggles, and they wouldn’t notice. Now quit whining.”
“I don’t whine.”
“No of course you don’t.”
“Why isn’t the doctor here yet?”
“Are you so eager for the doctor to arrive? Last time you were here, you threatened to hex Dr. Rosenberg into next week.”
“That was because he was being a pillock. This time, I don’t care if the doctor’s a pillock, I just want to get this over with so I can get home in time.”
“In time for what?” Giles glanced suspiciously up at his brother.
“In time for Passions.” Severus replied unrepentedly. “I was going to watch the show with your friend Spike tonight.”
“My friend? You do realize he’s a vampire, don’t you? He’s Spike, also known as William the Bloody from the Scourge of Europe.”
“Wait, you mean ‘the’ Scourge of Europe? I thought he was just kidding about that. I must say you’ve made interesting friends over here.”
“He’s not a friend?”
“He just has a key to your apartment?”
“I didn’t give it to him.”
“And has a favorite mug in your cabinet?” Severus quirked his brow. This would definitely make interesting gossip fodder if only he was still friends with anyone from their school days.
“That’s from when I had him chained in my bathroom.”
“Oh, so he’s not a friend, he’s a special friend? You know I had never given any credence to Martha VanHaven’s rumors…”
“You have a filthy mind. I meant that Buffy had him chained in my bathroom because we thought he might be dangerous.”
“But clearly he’s not, being the fluffy vampire that he is. I see.” Severus sarcastically shot back. “What I don’t see is how Sir Bradford could criticize the company I keep given what his own son is up to.”
Before he could control himself, Giles had drawn his own wand from his coat pocket. “Don’t you ever compare the company I keep to those bastards you called friends.” Realizing the position he was in, Giles relaxed his hand and backed away. “Gran told me you had turned over a new leaf, and for that reason alone I’ve let you stay, but if you dare defend those murderers, you’ll find out just how cruel the muggle world can be.”
“Why Rupert, I didn’t know you cared.” Severus muttered, staring straight into his brother’s eyes.
Before Giles could reply, there was a knock on the door. Giles slipped his wand back into his pocket just as a doctor poked his head in to the examination room. “Hello gentlemen, I hope I’m not interrupting your conversation.”
“Not a bit. Please come in. We were just wondering when you’d arrive.” Giles calmly stated, only his fidgeting fingers giving away his anxiety.
“Well, here I am.” The doctor smiled, clearly practicing the bedside manners he had picked up in medical school rather than real life.
“Excellent. I’ll just let you and Steven,” Giles glared at Severus when he said the alias, “catch up. I’ll be down the hall.”
“Very well. I’ll have a nurse call you when we’re finished.” The doctor said turning his attention to the surly patient in casts as Giles snuck out of the room.
“Did you read that letter from your father yet?” Severus asked as he selected two swords from the display cabinet.
“Yes, evidently, we’re having Christmas in London this year.” Rupert said, in between charming his stack of socks into extra fencing gear for his brother. While Mr. Giles had purchased a new set of guards for Rupert’s birthday, neither parent realized that Severus was getting a proper watcher’s course in defense, and thus he had to make-do with transformed supplies.
“Ah, so he and mother are foisting us off on Gran again?” Severus double checked the door to make sure it was locked. It would do no good to have someone wandering in from the trophy room, not that anyone regularly visited the trophy room.
“Well that’s the peculiar thing. He didn’t say anything about being out of town. In fact, I would think the watchers would be working very hard around here.”
“More so than usual?” Severus handed Rupert the swords as he slipped on the protective helmet and pads.
“I suppose these will do.” Rupert said, selecting the best sword for himself. “They sent the slayer up against the cows. She didn’t return and the next week, there were reports of a new slayer in Australia.”
“It’s an acronym for Knights of Walpurgis.” Rupert answered. “Are you ready?”
“I suppose. Toss that here, would you?” Severus stood up just in time to catch the sword Rupert tossed him. “You took the good one.”
“Well, that’s what you get for picking out weak swords.”
“It’s not my fault. I doubt anyone’s taught fencing at Hogwarts in at least a century. At least neither of these were rusted.”
“True. So are we going to follow the international regulations, or just wing it?”
“We’ll start with the rules.”
“Ah, a man after Quentin’s heart.” Rupert lined up across from Severus. “Ready?” Severus answered by trying to get a quick thrust in that Rupert’s sword batted away. “I’ll take that as a yes.”
“You need to find a better name.”
“Knights of Walpurgis.” Severus decided his best defense would be a strong offense, so he rushed towards Rupert’s position.
“I thought ‘cows’ was rather clever.” Rupert easily batted away the sword and flipped his wrist to catch Severus’ shoulder pad with the tip. “Point.”
“No one else is going to understand what you’re talking about.”
“I figure at the rate the killings are going, the media will come up with a name soon, anyway.”
“You don’t think they’ll settle for the ‘wizarding menace’?” Severus snorted. “Damn.” He muttered as his tactic once again backfired, leaving an opening for his brother.
“If you didn’t pull your shoulders back right before you thrust, it wouldn’t be so obvious when you planned to attack.” Rupert offered his brother some unwanted advice. Severus quietly chewed on that information while adjusting his strategy. “I wonder when Dumbledore is going to make a move?”
“Why should Dumbledore make a move at all? He’s the headmaster of a school. That’s hardly a powerful position.”
“It is the only wizarding school in this country and therefore should have some sort of sway over the wizarding populace. Besides,” Rupert took a moment to push Severus’ offense back a bit. “Dumbledore is one of the most powerful wizards in the world. If anyone should be involved at taking down these murderers it should be him.”
“Wrong. This is a case for the aurors and ministry.”
“Yes, but clearly they are not doing anything about it.”
“True, but that doesn’t justify the involvement of Hogwart’s headmaster. Now, if the headmaster had a family member that had been attacked, he would be entitled to go after the culprits out of vengeance. However, while eccentric, none of the Dumbledores have had any squib or muggle blood in them for generations, and therefore are not likely to be targeted any time soon.” Severus reasoned as the swords fell into a comfortable pattern.
“True.” Rupert, sensing his brother was falling for the lull in the conversation, switched the direction of his attack going for a quick hit on the left. Severus responded with a hit on the corresponding open left side. “But, given the number of muggle-borns at the school, it’s only a matter of time before a student’s family gets attacked. At that point does it become a matter for the headmaster?”
“If the muggle student asked the professor to take vengeance on their behalf, then yes.” Severus’ lips pursed in concentration as he noticed Rupert had been fencing him into a corner.
“But a muggle student wouldn’t know to ask for vengeance. That’s a wizarding custom.”
“Then it won’t be the Headmaster’s problem, now would it?”
“Whoever said life was fair was badly deluded and a Gryffindor.”
“Does that mean you don’t want to play regulation scoring?” Rupert asked with a twinkle in his eye. Although he got Quentin to admit that most monsters would not follow regulation play and therefore it would be pointless for a watcher to teach that style to a slayer, the junior watcher seldom let him play by his own rules.
“I didn’t say that.” Severus got out just as there was a knock on the door.
“Snape? Giles? Are you in there?”
“Travers.” Both boys muttered.
“I wonder if the fun-sucking talent is genetic.” Rupert muttered as Severus called back that they were both inside.
“Hurry up you two!” Travers yelled back.
“Whatever for?” Rupert asked.
“Oh damn, I forgot to tell you.” Severus remarked, completely unrepentant. “Hand me your sword.”
“What’s going on?”
“We need to get back to Slytherin. Just leave your pads on; we don’t have time to change.”
“But we’ve barely gotten started.” Rupert whimpered as he handed the sword back to his brother, who quickly put them back in the cabinet.
“It doesn’t matter. Lucius has called a meeting.”
“Oh great! Now you tell me.” Rupert rolled his eyes, as he unlocked the door.
“Don’t worry, it’s nothing bad… I think.” Severus called as he went running down the halls for the stairs to Slytherin. Rupert went running after him, and had managed to catch up by the time Damon had gotten the portrait open.
“Ah, late as usual.” Lucius sneered as the trio found a spot on the floor, all the comfortable chairs in the commons room already claimed. Severus and Rupert were able to pull off their helmets, but still looked out of place wearing the rest of their gear.
“And what exactly are we late for?” Rupert asked, knowing that Slytherins never apologized, regardless of the accusation.
“The first official meeting of the Slytherin OWL group.” Evan answered, earning a sneer from Lucius.
“Yes, as Evan says, we’re continuing the fifth year tradition by having an OWL study group. First order of business, we need to set a meeting time. Now quidditch practice is Wednesdays and Fridays, so clearly we need to meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays after class.”
Rupert raised his hand. “I can’t meet then.”
“Why ever not?” Lucius seemed affronted to think that there were any conflicts other than quidditch.
“I have other obligations.”
“What sort of obligations?” Narcissa turned her nose up at Rupert.
“I’m meeting with the other houses to study then, if you must know.”
“Well, clearly you must cancel your meetings with them. Alright, next order of business….”
“No.” Rupert insisted.
“What?” Several of the boys winced at Lucius’ tone.
“We should set a time that everyone can attend, and I can’t attend on Tuesdays and Thursdays, unless we met after dinner.”
“I told you to drop your other commitments.”
“But that makes no sense. If I meet with them, I’ll be able to provide the rest of you with the Ravenclaw notes, not to mention Hufflepuff and Gryffindor notes. Do any of the rest of you have access to the Ravenclaws?”
There was a lot of mumbling as the Slytherins admitted they didn’t really interact enough with the other houses to borrow their notes. “We could just steal their notes.” Rastaban offered.
“I doubt any of us can read Ravenscratch.” Rupert snapped back.
“They have their own form of short hand. Peasegood showed me once, but it’s rather complicated.” Rupert replied.
“You’re just making that up.” Martha shot back, glaring at her ex-boyfriend.
“Oh you think so?”
“We could just hold their familiars hostage until they translated for us.” Prunella offered.
“Right, brilliant plan, much simpler than just moving the study group until after dinner.”
“Meeting after dinner is inconvenient for me; therefore we shall meet before dinner. Rabbie, you’re in charge of sneaking notes from the other houses. Prunella, you’re in charge of providing persuasion. No more questions. Next order of business, assigning outlines. As you can see, I’ve assigned topics according to everyone’s strength.”
Lucius passed around the parchments with everyone’s delegated topics. When the parchment came to Rupert he resisted the urge to raise his hand once again. Somehow, Lucius had decided to have him work with Martha to produce the History of Magic outlines, while giving his best topic, Charms, to Evan. “Don’t even think about it.” Severus growled into his ear before he could protest.
Lucius concluded the meeting and the boys made their way back to their dorm room. “So sad about you having to miss your mudblood group.” Lucius patted Rupert on the shoulder as he walked past.
“You’re going to be even sadder when you see the History outlines. What were you thinking?!” Rupert shouted, as he tore his fencing gear off and threw it into his trunk.
“You’ve got the highest history grade in Slytherin.” Lucius shrugged.
“I’ve also got the highest charms grade. Why couldn’t I be put in Charms with Mafalda?”
“You’re the only one who stays awake through history.”
“Severus is awake as much as I am. Come on Malfoy, I’m not going to do History with Martha.”
“Are you saying you’re not willing to work with your fellow Slytherin for the greater good? Where’s your house citizenship?” Lucius sneered.
“Can’t I trade with Rastaban? He actually likes Martha.”
“Narcissa and I worked hard to develop those assignments. There will be no trading.”
“Oh come on!”
Lucius’ patience had reached an end, so he pushed Rupert up against the wall and whispered in his ears. “Slytherins get what they want, and I want your history outlines. You’ll just have to deal with that. Do you understand?”
“Yes.” Rupert gulped, not liking the feral gleam in the silver eyes staring back at him.
“Excellent. I’ll see you at dinner.” Lucius let go of Rupert and strolled out of the room.
“You know I can’t help but wonder,” Severus mused, slipping off the fencing padding and throwing it on Rupert’s bed. “Is there some place in the Watcher’s Handbook that recommends you poking big monsters with a stick just to find out the best way to irritate them? Because, that’s the only excuse I can see for how you behave around him.”
“Are you kidding? He was completely out of line.”
“You let him be house captain back in first year. You can’t rescind that.”
“But part of being a captain involves listening to your team.”
“Not in Slytherin. In Slytherin, we get what we set our minds to.”
“You know, you’re right.” Rupert collapsed on his bed and began undoing the transfiguration spells on his socks.
“So that means you’re going to do the History essays like you were assigned? That’s excellent because I think that’s everyone’s weakest subject.”
“I’m in Slytherin.”
“Right…” Severus stared at his brother, getting the sneaking suspicion his point was missed.
“Slytherins get whatever they set their minds to.”
“Oh no you don’t.”
“Whatever you’re thinking.”
“I’m not thinking anything.” Rupert smiled slyly, “I just need to make a quick trip to the owlery.”
“You’re not writing Gran about this, are you?”
“Oh.” Severus breathed a sigh of relief. “Well, I guess I’ll see you at dinner then.”
“Right, see you then.”