“I can’t believe you watch that drivel.” Giles muttered, rubbing his forehead in annoyance. It was hard enough summarizing Buffyspeak into language the Council would accept for patrol reports; it was that much worse trying to work with the television blaring.
“It beats whatever you’re doing.” Spike said, taking advantage of the last commercial to egg the watcher on.
“Remind me again why I don’t just have Buffy stake you once and for all?”
“It would hardly be sporting, what with this chip in my head.” Spike didn’t even try to sound intimidated.
“I could give you a five minute head start out of town. That would even the odds a bit.” Giles sighed wistfully.
“Yeah, but then you’d never get your message.”
“Later. The show’s back on.”
“You’ve been watching that show for four hours already.”
“Shh!” Came two voices from the couch.
“No, I really must protest. What message am I missing, Spike?” Giles growled.
“Hush, the bint’s about to be thrown out.” Giles got up from the kitchen table and stalked over to the coffee table, grabbing the remote and hitting the power button.
“Hey! What’s that for!”
“What message, Spike?”
“Give that back!”
“You can have it back after you tell me the message.” Giles held the remote over his head, knowing Spike wouldn’t be able to reach it without hitting Giles and receiving a shock.
Unfortunately, Giles forgot Spike wasn’t the only one who cared about whether Jasmine was evicted. “Accio remote.” Severus muttered catching the remote in his right hand. Across the room, Giles’ car keys fell off the table, the door remote wobbling on the floor as if it was trying to decide whether it was worth the effort to travel to the couch. Severus ignored the unintended side effect and hit the power button.
“You shouldn’t humor him, Sev. He’ll never tell us what he knows if you just give him what he wants.” Giles grumbled, knowing he wasn’t going to get the remote out his brother’s hand until the show was completely over now.
“I’m not humoring him; I’m watching the show. There’s no reason I have to endure any more suffering because of your shenanigans.” Severus couldn’t help but cringe as he realized he had picked up one of Minerva’s favorite phrases, shenanigans indeed. Spike sent a triumphant glare at Giles and then sat down next to Severus, content to watch the last half hour of the Passions marathon.
As soon as the show was over, Spike got up to leave. “Well, it’s been lovely mates, ta for now.”
“Oh no you don’t!” Giles got up and put himself right in front of the doorway, armed with one of Xander’s holy water guns. “Tell me what message you were talking about. Is there a new master in town? Did Buffy call?”
“Don’t get your knickers in a twist. It was nothing like that; just some bloke stopping by to talk to your brother.”
“My brother?” Giles glanced over to the couch to find Severus already listening attentively.
“Yeah, he asked for Severus Snape first, and then for you.”
“Was he from the hospital?”
“Unless there’s a new British doctor in town making house calls…” Spike grabbed the doorknob.
“Not so fast.” Giles leaned back against the door, water pistol trained on the vampire. “Who was he? What did he look like?”
“He didn’t give a name, just asked to see you both. He looked like an ordinary bloke.”
“Was he wearing both shoes?” Giles asked.
“What kind of stupid question is that? You been bumped too often in the head, watcher?” Spike scoffed.
“Was he wearing a cape?” Giles persisted.
“What, like Superman? Nah. Well, a long jacket or something, but he looked like any other stuffy watcher clone. You boys expecting a visit from the Council, or something?” Spike figured if it was the Council, now would be a good time to lay low for a bit.
“Not the Council, no.” Giles muttered, pondering the information. Perhaps he hadn’t been imagining the wards buzzing earlier.
“Now, think carefully, was he carrying a wand?” Severus asked, holding up his own wand as a model.
“There was definitely something in his pocket. Might have been a wand. Might have been anything. Well, it’s been fun, but I’ve got better places to be.” Spike noticed Giles was lost in thought and used the opportunity to get the front door open.
“Wait, do you know which way he went?”
“Nah, the show was on.” Spike shrugged and let himself out, easily getting past Giles.
“Of course, the bloody show was on. We’ve got a stalker, but heaven forbid you miss any of the show to find out who.”
“Not my job, watcher. I’m just the resident big bad.”
“As observant as you are, I doubt you’ll keep that title for any length of time.” Giles shot back, closing the door on Spike’s face.
“Well, that was informative.” Severus muttered facing the television again.
“No, that was Spike.”
“Rupert, mate, a word, if you will.” Rupert winced at Lucius’ attempt at a friendly tone.
“Ah Lucius, how are things going?” Rupert smiled at the blonde who slid onto the bench next to him.
“Not bad, not bad.” Lucius paused for a moment. “But they could be better.”
“Oh? I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Are you really?”
“Undoubtedly, my life would be better if your life was already perfect.” Rupert flippantly answered, while helping himself to some roast beef. “What seems to be the problem? Have we had our yearly quidditch suspension yet?”
“Surprisingly, no, and even if we did, I think Masters would be far more inclined to pick Bellatrix over you to fill in that beater position,” He glanced up at the faculty table, “not that I have any reason to suspect a beater’s position opening.” He added and knocked on the bottom of the wooden table.
“Ah. So nothing wrong with quidditch. What good news.” Rupert turned his attention to his dinner, hoping that was the end of the conversation.
Lucius however, didn’t take the hint. “I have a question for you.”
“No, I do not know who rigged the Gryffindor brooms, but I think it’s brilliant. Yes, I’ve already met with Martha to set up a strategy for the last of the history notes, and amazingly, I escaped from the meeting unscathed. And yes, I know, by fifth year my father really should have broken down and signed the Hogsmeade form, but he has these crazy ideas about authority from a distance. I shan’t be joining you for butterbeers this year, end of story.”
“That’s not what I was going to ask about.”
“Pity.” Rupert muttered, taking a bite of his dinner. “Then I guess this has to do with that yearbook thing.”
“No,” Lucius dropped his voice to a more conspiratorial tone. “I wanted to ask you if you knew where Severus was this afternoon. Prunella was looking for him, and he was nowhere to be found.”
“And is there a reason why she couldn’t just ask him directly?” Rupert glanced down the table where Severus was busy talking about dueling with his cousin.
“Prunella looked everywhere, and got Narcissa to assist with the search as well. Now, if Severus was in an acceptable place like the library or the commons room, they would have found him. Clearly he is up to something, and I want to know what.” Rupert would never admit it, but he always admired how Lucius was able to threaten someone without moving his lips, so that across the table it looked as though he was just quietly eating dinner like everyone else.
“Well, I hate to disappoint you, but Severus was in the potions laboratory. He’s working on something for Jigger. Last week he spent the whole time chopping lacewings apart. I doubt this week was more exciting. Pass the rolls please.”
“You know Sev. He takes this apprentice thing a bit too seriously, especially considering the OWLs coming up.” Rupert hoped Lucius would believe him and not push for a more detailed description. He wasn’t about to admit that Severus was tutoring Lily.
“Hmm.” Lucius thought on that as he passed the bread basket down. “Wait a minute…” Rupert glanced up in alarm, trying not to look guilty. “What yearbook thing?”
“You know; our class picture.”
“What about our class picture?”
“It’s on Friday.”
“That’s what all the girls were saying in choir.” It was actually a topic of study group rather than choir, but Rupert knew another little white lie to Lucius wasn’t going to hurt him.
“I hadn’t heard that.”
“Well, then I guess you weren’t planning on asking me about it, were you?” Rupert reasoned.
“Why would I ask you about it?”
“Think about it; it's class picture time. Clearly we need to come up with some way to embarrass the Gryffindors, and considering that we are older and know better spells, we really should try something other than the blue dye in the shower routine again. Second, its class picture time. Undoubtedly the Gryffindors are going to try something to embarrass us, and they aren’t above the dye in the shower routine. Somebody’s got to watch Rookie this year to make sure they don’t use him again… And I call not-it.”
“Merlin. I had forgotten about that.” Lucius frowned. “Are you sure it’s this Friday?”
“You think the run on Pimpernel’s Pimple Potion in Hogsmeade last weekend was a fluke?”
“Rosier!” Lucius barked.
Evan immediately dropped his conversation with Rookie to face the blonde prefect. “You called?”
“Rupert tells me that yearbook photos are on Friday. Clearly this can not be the case as there have been no announcements in the commons nor any notices posted in our rooms. As our resident yearbook expert, it is your responsibility to set him straight.”
“In this case, Muddy’s right.” Evan gulped nervously.
“And this is the first I’ve heard of it, because…”
“Hey, I’m copy editor, I don’t do scheduling. You need to talk to Juliet Montague about posting the announcements. It was her job this year.”
As Lucius criticized Evan’s editorial skills, Rupert sent his brother a few desperate looks. Finally Severus caught his eyes and sent him a questioning glance. A few subtle head nods, and the two boys rushed through the end of dinner to meet in the hall a few minutes later. “What is your problem?” Severus did not sound amused.
“Prunella was looking for you.”
“And this concerns me why?”
“When she couldn’t find you, she asked Narcissa for help looking. Narcissa told Lucius, who then approached me.”
“I told him you were helping Jigger out.”
“Well I suppose taking one of his most inept students and trying to make sure she is not a threat to herself or others, is of some assistance.” Severus mused. “Was it really necessary to drag me out into the hall to tell me this? We could have corroborated cover stories later.”
“I didn’t drag you.”
“No? Then what is this supposed to mean?” Severus jerked his head to the side several times in a grossly exaggerated pantomime of Rupert’s earlier actions.
“It meant that I need to speak with you after dinner… and I was not that obvious.”
“You were so obvious that I was tempted to offer you membership in the Gryffindor fan club.” Severus snapped back.
“Well excuse me. I just thought you might be interested to know that Lucius is watching you.”
“Lucius is always watching. He’s a Malfoy; it’s what they do.” Severus snorted. “Now, with all your head bobbing, you have simply confirmed for him that we do have some scheme afoot.”
“So how do we prevent him from finding out that we’re consorting with the enemy house?”
“With your impeccable lying ability?” Severus sneered. “No, we simply need to have a scheme afoot to overlay the other scheme.”
“Ah.” Rupert nodded. “That makes all the sense that is not.”
“Well, if you insist on being so obvious with the truth, we clearly need to have a better truth to put on top of it. Quick, think of something; they’ll be getting out of dinner soon.”
“The yearbook picture,” Rupert said the first thing that came to his head.
“What about the yearbook picture?”
“Evan forgot to tell Lucius that it’s on Friday.”
“So we need to plan a counter attack for whenever Black’s gang decides to strike?” Severus pondered that. “Yes, I think that will do quite nicely. I even have an idea from one of the recipes in the Snape book.”
“I thought you left that at home for the school year.”
“I did, but I memorized several useful spells first.”
“No offense, but I’d rather not trust a prank to your memory of a potion. If this is something Snapes are known for, it could be too easy for McGonagall to catch us. What we need is something from the common book of spells, but with a different application- something that could easily be pinned on the Ravenclaws.” Severus snorted. “Fine, not the Ravenclaws, but at least the Gryff girls.”
“Why would the Gryffindor girls prank their own yearbook picture?”
“Lack of foresight?”
“No, this will clearly be our work. It will just have to be worth whatever sort of detention we get.”
“I’m not sure I like that idea.” Rupert frowned. “I’m already behind on my work and you know how much McGonagall likes to pile the work on for the weekends.”
“True.” Severus pursed his lips. “That leaves us with two options. Either we make it look like an accident, or we give up the idea completely.”
“Or, we could figure out someway to mess with the film after the fact, preferably so they won’t notice until after OWLs.” Rupert added.
“Brilliant!” Severus grinned.
“I was afraid you’d say that.” Rupert followed Severus to the Slytherin dorms. Whatever plan Rupert’s comment had sparked would undoubtedly be brilliant, and probably mean a howler from Gran if they got caught.