Into Every Lap, a Little Food Must Fall
“Die.” Giles mumbled. “Die, you feckless thing.”
The alarm clock continued to bleet despite the repeated death threats. Giles tried one last attempt to fling his pillow at the snooze bar before giving up completely. “Fine, I get the hint.” He sat up and turned his alarm clock off. “But the next time you try going off on a Saturday morning, I might not be so merciful.” He threatened as he threw on his bathrobe and slippers.
He trudged down the stairs, trying to ignore the fact that it was still mostly dark outside. “Good morning, Severella.”
“Mrmmm.” Came the reply from the couch.
Feeling wicked, Giles went into the kitchen and refilled his water kettle, clanging it against the burner as loud as possible before turning on the stove. He glanced over to the couch to see no movement. Deciding to escalate things a bit, he pulled a skillet out of the cabinet and clanged it against the other front burner. There was a slight twitch from the couch. He pulled out a carton of eggs, a bowl and a whisk. A truly evil part of him contemplated bringing out the electric mixer, but that seemed a bit too obvious. He broke four eggs into the bowl, assuming both he and his brother would take two, and began clanging the metal wisk against the metal bowl. A grumble came from the couch, but it wasn’t as put out as Giles had been hoping for.
It was only when Giles turned his back to pour the eggs into the heated skillet, that Severus made his presence known. A pillow came flying from the living room to hit Giles on the back of the head. “Now really, that was uncalled for.”
“Do you have any idea what time it is?” The unrepentant voice called from the couch.
“It’s about 6:30.” Giles called back over the sizzle of breakfast.
“My watch says go back to bed.” Severus retorted.
“How would you know? Odds are, if you even own a watch, it’s at Hogwarts and saying you should be in class.”
“Go back to bed.”
“I’ve got too much to do. The wizard will undoubtedly come by the shop today. I need to be ready for when that happens.”
“Alright, so we have to go to your shop to question a wizard. Your shop doesn’t even open until eleven.”
“It opens at nine.”
“Really? What an ungodly hour, especially for a Saturday.”
“Americans value service, especially on Saturdays.”
“Still, that’s two and a half hours away. It won’t take us that long to get dressed and go over to your shop. If I use my wand, I could be ready to go in fifteen minutes.”
“You’re not coming to my shop.”
“Yes I am.”
“No you’re not.”
“Yes I am.”
“No you’re not.” Before Severus could retort, Giles hastily added, “I couldn’t fit your chair in my car to get you there, and once we got to the shop, there wouldn’t be a good place you could stay out of sight, without having to get out of your chair. And, even if I could get you and your chair to my store, I told the doctor I would keep you in bed as much as possible, and that means no going to the store for you.”
“I have to be there.”
“No you don’t.”
“Rupert, use some common sense. You’ve been out of the wizarding world for over a decade. You wouldn’t be able to tell a death eater from an auror any more than you can tell a grible from a kneazle.”
“I can tell the difference.” Rupert grumbled. “Death Eaters wear masks and black cloaks, just like in one of those ridiculous horror movies the children like so much.”
“Of course we do, especially when on undercover missions in muggle villages.” Severus rolled his eyes.
“Well, alright, it would be asking a bit much if they came in uniforms, but I do think it would be relatively easy to tell a death eater from an auror. I could just check for the tattoo.”
“And how do you plan on getting close enough to do that?”
“I’ll have Buffy hit him on the head. Now, do you want anything on your eggs?” Giles divided the scrambled eggs onto two plates.
“Have Buffy hit him? That’s your idea of a big plan? That’s….” Severus stared at his brother in utter bafflement. Giles just shrugged and picked up the plates. “Oh, a touch of pepper if you will,” Severus interrupted before Giles could carry the plates into the living room.
Giles set the plates down and shook the pepper shaker once over Severus’ eggs. “A little more.” Severus muttered when Giles tried to set down the pepper shaker. “A little more; just because your muggle doctors are incompetent at quick healing spells doesn’t mean I should have to forfeit my sense of taste.”
“Alright, but if you pull all of your stitches out by sneezing off the pepper, I won’t have any mercy on you.” Giles warned, liberally applying the pepper. “There, you’re all peppered.”
Giles brought the plates to the living room couch and set the peppered plate on the arm rest by Severus. His brother used his right hand to awkwardly serve himself some eggs. “Hmm, I think you put too much pepper on this.” Severus finally commented haughtily.
“Well, if that’s the way you feel about it.” Giles didn’t know what possessed him to do what he did next, but when reflecting on it in future years, he wouldn’t regret it. He grabbed his brother’s plate of eggs, and dumped it over Severus’ head, watching as the bits of scrambled eggs and pepper dripped down that black hair onto his borrowed pajamas.
"I suppose I should be thankful you overcooked the eggs. I normally prefer them more runny."
“I should have known I’d find you here.” Remus said, sitting next to Severus on the third floor balcony overlooking the front entryway. “The house elves have already moved our things.”
“That’s hardly a surprise. Dumbledore did tell us to have everything completely packed before breakfast.” Severus commented, watching the main doors for any sign of movement.
“It’s so different here in the summer, so quiet. I sometimes wish that James and Sirius could see what it’s like.” Remus mused.
“If that pair were here, it wouldn’t stay quiet for long.”
Remus chuckled. “You have a point.” The pair silently watched the door for another minute. “So who are you waiting for?”
“Who said I’m waiting for anyone in particular?”
“No one. I’m just asking.”
“Well, I’m not.”
“No one? You’re not looking forward to seeing anyone after the break? You’re telling me no young witch has caught your fancy?” Remus teased.
“You’ve found me out, Lupin. After going three months without seeing her, I’ve discovered I’m passionately enamoured with Margaret MacDuff, and can’t wait another minute to see her shining face.” Severus deadpanned.
“You know, she’s in my house. I can put in a good word for you, if you like.”
“I’d rather be tied to the quidditch goal posts during shooting practice.” Severus scoffed.
“That’s rather masochistic, but knowing Meggie, she might actually find that a turn-on.”
“You are a very disturbed young man.”
“Nah, just trying to get back in my Gryffindor form.”
“I’d really wish you wouldn’t. You’re a much better person when you’re not a Gryffindor.” Severus admitted.
“I can’t stop being a Gryffindor any more than you can stop being a Slytherin. Besides, put you in a room with Rupert and Lucius and you’re not exactly a nice guy either.”
“I’m no different in the summertime than I am all year round.”
“That’s a farce.” Remus scoffed. “You can’t tell me that you don’t feed off their house spirit when you’re around those two. I can go three months living with you and not once have a change of hair color. Put you around Malfoy and Giles, and I’m sprouting feathers within a week. It happens every year.”
“The fact that you put Lucius and my brother in the same category indicates just how little you know about the situation.”
“I know that every time they’re seen whispering together in a corner, undoubtedly the Gryffindors will have a prank to deal with by the end of the week.”
“That’s really rather self-centered of you. Rupert and Lucius have plenty to conspire about without planning Gryffindor pranks. If you want to talk about conspiring pranksters, you don’t have to look beyond your house. Black and Potter are notorious for their plotting skills.”
“True, but when they do it, it’s funny.” Remus grinned.
“That just shows how truly misguided you are. So any word on this year’s defense teacher?” Severus deliberately tried to change the topic.
“I don’t know.”
“I thought you spent all month helping Dumbledore sort the files.”
“And I have no idea who he hired.”
“Truly. Would I lie to you?”
“Anyone will lie if given enough incentive.”
“How truly pessimistic of you.”
“You mean realistic.”
“I think I know what I meant.”
“You sound just like Rupert, always insisting you’re right, even when you’re wrong.” Severus answered haughtily, although Remus had a suspicion the Slytherin was just having him on.
“Well, I suppose we’ll have to take that up later. I think I we’re about to be overrun with second years; I hear something outside.”
“How can you possibly hear something that far away? The doors are three feet thick.”
“Oh they are not.”
“In Hogwarts: a History…” Before Severus could continue with the line of reasoning, he was interrupted by the main doors opening.
“Ah, you see. I was right.” Remus threw in the last word as the two boys watched the group of students enter the building en masse, the shrill sound of the second year girls drowning out the rest of the crowd, as they were the first through the door.
“What can they possibly find so interesting to talk about? Hasn’t anyone explained to them why sounding like a banshee is undesirable?” Severus grumbled, taking out his annoyance that the summer was over on some chattering Hufflepuffs.
“Oh, relax Severus. They’re just catching up, and I think I’ll join them.”
“You have a thing for Hufflepuffs?”
“Oh yes, that golden yellow just… no you git, Sirius and James are right behind them.”
“So I’ll see you around?”
“It would be hard not to.” Severus watched Remus take off at a run down the stairs. He reached the second landing before adding his shouts to the cacophony at the entrance. Severus watched from his balcony perch in silence as Remus greeted his friends with a raucous pat on the back, and followed them towards the Great Hall, talking animatedly with the jokers of Gryffindor.
The crowd in the hallway thinned out and Severus still had yet to see his housemates. He was just beginning to think that maybe they had passed him earlier and he’d missed it, when the last carriage-load of students entered.
“You really think he’ll make it on the squad his first year?” Rupert questioned loud enough for Severus to hear on the third floor.
“Undoubtedly. His mother, Gwendolyn Morgan, played keeper for the Harpies up until she had him, and he’s the son of Dai Llewellyn.” Rastaban waxed on.
“The Dai Llewelleyn from the Catapults team who took the European Cup in ’53?” Damon asked.
“The very same.”
“My father still raves about that game.”
“My father had front box tickets to that game.” Lucius added for good measure.
“This wizard was practically bred for quidditch. I can’t see him not making the team.” Rastaban concluded.
“Yes, well, fat lot of good that will do us.” Lucius scowled. “Both his parents were in Gryffindor. If he plays for any house team it will probably be for them.” The group was following the crowd under the archway that Severus’ balcony overlooked.
Severus reached into his pocket and pulled out the acorn he’d been saving all morning. It had taken him several trips to Hogsmeade before he had caught on to the cause of the falling acorns, and this seemed like the best time for a bit of payback.
“You never know, the sorting hat could surprise you.” Rupert tried to counter Lucius’ logic.
“It’s highly unlikely. Houses tend to run in families.” Damon answered.
“True, but he’s the son of two famous quidditch players, right? Undoubtedly, he’s under a certain amount of pressure to live up to their expectations, right? Well, if his drive to succeed overcomes his misplaced sense of bravery, that would put him in our house. It’s an entirely plausible scenario.”
“Are you willing to put your galleons where your mouth is?” Evan asked, with a wicked grin.
“A galleon says Gordon Llewellyn won’t be a Gryffindor.” Rupert offered. Gran had given him a rather generous stipend of shopping money this summer, and since he couldn’t go into Hogsmeade, a friendly wager he was bound to lose wouldn’t mean much. In some ways the hopeless wager could be seen as a wise investment. Rupert knew his classmates liked him much better as a clueless mudblood than as the class know-it-all, and happy Slytherins made much better roommates.
“Oh no you don’t. If we make this a real bet, you have to say he’ll be in Slytherin.” Evan Rosier insisted, stopping just inside the hall archway.
“Alright.” As Rupert held out his hand, Severus lined up his acorn and let go.
Just as Evan was about to shake on it, Rupert took a step back. The acorn clattered harmlessly on the floor. “You know, oak trees don’t grow inside Sev. Don’t you think that’s a bit obvious?”
The group looked up to see Severus peering over the third floor balcony. “I just wanted to see if you were paying attention.” He offered feebly.
“Of course I was; I saw you as soon as I came in. Now get down here, and explain to Evan, the futility of making sucker bets.”
It’s not technically a sucker bet. The mindset of the sorting hat does leave everything to chance. However, in this case, I would think Evan is bound to win.” Lucius reasoned. “He’s definitely going to be a Gryffindor.”
“Do you know that for sure?” Severus said, before heading down the stairs to join his classmates at the bottom.
Lucius waited patiently for Severus to arrive, before answering. “Both of his parents were Gryffindors, thus it is inevitable.”
“Ah, but we are talking about Gwendolyn Morgan’s child here, are we not?” Severus jumped right into a conversation he and Remus had already bandied about a couple times this summer. “As an entire clan, the Morgans were Slytherins by nature. Some say the only reason Gwendolyn was not put in our house was because the hat saw her future quidditch glory and knew that we don’t allow girls on our team.”
“The only one who says that is Gran.” Rastaban interjected.
“Have you ever known Gran to be wrong?” Severus arched his brow at his cousin, trying out a move he had practiced in the mirror all summer.
“No.” Severus thought Rastaban might have looked a bit intimidated. “But what about the Llewellyn side?”
“Well enough speculation. It’s time to test your theories.” Lucius was the first of the Slytherin sixth years to enter the Great Hall and make their way to the table. “Severus, it’s been a while, sit here.” Lucius patted the bench next to him, “So, any news on the new DADA professor?”
“Not a word. Believe me, I’ve tried asking around, and there’s been no hint at all.”
“That’s not good.” Lucius muttered. “I wonder…” Unfortunately, Lucius’ comment was cut off as the headmaster stood up.
“Students, faculty, let us welcome the latest additions to your houses and classes.” The room was filled with polite applause as Professor McGonagall led the anxious group of first years from the back of the room to the head table. Hufflepuffs offered shy smiles and waves to any first years glancing in their direction, while Gryffindors responded with ominous winks and grins. The Ravenclaws clapped politely and watched the procession, but refused to get attached to any of the first years until the hat had officially labeled the children. The Slytherins appeared similar to the Ravenclaws in their polite distance, but where the Ravenclaws waited to pass judgement, the Slytherins were already pre-sorting the students in their heads.
“I wager we have five boys and six girls.” Damon observed quietly to his roommates.
“I count an even dozen.” Lucius answered.
“You mean thirteen,” Rupert said with a playful smirk “You forgot Gordon, whom I assume is the blonde in the middle of the line.” It was rather hard to miss the son of two quidditch greats. He walked into the room as though he knew he was more important than everyone around him. His chin was held high, and his gait was much more confident than an eleven year old had the right to be. In short, he looked just like Lucius had at that age. The Gryffindors were cheering him on, singing Hail the Conquering Heroes, until McGonagall shot them a dirty look. She was secretly delighted at the idea of once again dominating the House Quidditch Cup, but knew it would not do to have her colleagues see her so partial to her house.
The students patiently waited as the Sorting Hat sang a little ditty about being true to one’s own heart. As the sorting commenced it was clear that the Slytherins would once again consist of the usual suspects. They had already accrued four girls and two boys when Gordon Llewellyn was called to the front. The boy strode to the stool and donned the Sorting Hat. The Hat opened its brim as if to shout out an answer, but stayed silent for a moment. The moment stretched into two and then three as it appeared that the boy was trying to talk to the hat. Finally, after a full minute of silence, the Hat shouted.
In the mighty uproar that followed, Evan slipped a galleon into Rupert’s hand. “I’ll double that, if you tell me how you bribed the hat.”
“Please, students, sit down!” McGonagall’s voice echoed through the Hall. “Don’t make me remove house points before anyone’s earned any.”
The room fell silent as the blonde boy walked over to the table under the green banners. As soon as he sat down, the Slytherins greeted their newest member, with a raucous house cheer.
“Well, that was unexpected.” Lucius muttered, watching the rest of the sortings with a strange sense of uneasiness. It was rare when Rupert had a better understanding of the wizarding world than he did. As a member of the quidditch team, he had built up all summer with the intent of harassing the inevitable Gryffindor chaser, but now he might be on the boy’s team.
“You can say that again. I bet it’s just eating Black up.” Severus agreed, casting a quick glance to the table directly across from them. He managed to catch Sirius’ eye. The two boys stared each other down, missing the last first year, Yesenia Zotts, find her place amongst the Hufflepuffs. The stare off was broken off only when the food appeared, and Remus elbowed Black to get his friend’s attention.
“You should be careful there. Watching him for so long might cause some to wonder if you have feelings for dear Mr. Black.” Lucius snidely muttered as Severus’ attention returned to the Slytherin’s feast.
“If by feelings you mean complete and utter loathing, I hardly think that’s a secret. If by feelings you mean something else, I suggest you reconsider your insinuations in light of the fact that I will be helping Professor Jigger with NEWT potions this year. I would hate for anything unfortunate to befall my own house, but accidents do happen.” Severus neither admitted nor denied the allegations, knowing Lucius would run with whatever he said, regardless of the answer.
“Ah, Snape, you’re always such a private man.” Lucius lamented. “Perhaps you should consider doing something about that? Keeping to yourself as much as you do, people will undoubtedly think you have something to hide.”
“Maybe I do.” Severus smirked.
“So I take it we’re back on the subject of Black again?” Rupert cut in for good measure, earning a wink from Lucius and a scowl from Severus.
“Must you be so foul?”
“You know, Severus, in order to court someone, you need to at least acknowledge their existence.” Lucius decided to play the gag one step further.
“Yes, Severella, maybe you should try to get his attention.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Denial, it’s such a sad state of affairs.” Lucius mocked.
“You know what I bet would get his attention? A lump of mashed potatoes on his forehead.” Rupert added for good measure.
“How utterly brilliant for that second year mind of yours, Giles. Bravo!” Lucius teased.
“You think it’s too obvious?” Rupert speculated with a mischievious grin. “I don’t know, I think it would be a true admission of Severus’ feelings for the git, I mean, Gryff.”
“Ah, and therein lies the problem. Severus is a Slytherin. Slytherins do not stoop to flinging food across the Great Hall.” Lucius informed Rupert. In probably one of the most prophetic insights a Malfoy would ever have, he added, “No, that’s a Gryffindor trait.”
A moment later, a lump of mashed potatoes landed on Narcissa’s hair. She squealed, drawing the boys’ attention. While Narcissa’s cousin, Sirius, would have been the obvious culprit, it was in fact Peter Pettigrew holding the guilty spoon, looking quite startled. Evidently he had been aiming down the table for the Llewellyn boy, but didn’t have the firepower to reach that far.
“Are you going to let that go, uncontested?” Rupert asked Lucius, knowing that the fastest way to get through to Lucius was to go to Narcissa Black.
“I think not, Rupert, watch the faculty table. Severus, some assistance if you will?” The two boys rapidly muttered the charm to turn their forks into slingshots. Lucius’ first attempt missed Pettigrew, but hit Black square on. Severus’ slingshot was not as well calibrated, resulting in a wide shot that hit Margaret MacDuff in the back of the head.
“Nice shot. Way to wake a sleeping dragon.” Rupert muttered, as the tall redhead turned around to glare at the Slytherin table.
“I wasn’t aiming for her.” Severus shot back, glancing at the faculty table before reloading.
“No, but she’s aiming for you.” As Margaret’s shot went wide, hitting the Ravenclaw prefect, a chain reaction was triggered. Within moments, bits of the beautiful Hogwarts feast were being flung across the room.
“Albus, do something!” Professor McGonagall ordered as she watched a particularly lovely shot of peas scatter over the Hufflepuff table.
“Very well.” Albus sighed and stood up. “STOP!” At his command, not only did the children freeze, but the food froze as well, hanging in midair in many instances.
Surprised, by the suddenness of the response, Albus cleared his throat and began an impromptu speech. “Hogwarts is a school of proud tradition and promising future. You, the future generations of wizards, come here to learn from our past and make many important decisions that will impact the rest of your lives. Will you live a life in constant struggle? Will you carry with you a passion for war? Or, will you learn to appreciate the great diversity that makes up wizarding culture? Every day, you will be faced with tests, not all of which are in the classroom. Your grade will not only be reflected in letters on a report card, but also in the way you conduct yourself in every aspect of life. While the board of governors may decide who passes the OWLs and NEWTs, only you decide if you’ve passed the most difficult test of them all- living with dignity. I want you to think on that the next time, before engaging in such conduct.” Albus glared around the room, letting his eyes fall on the usual suspects. “Alright,” he said as his twinkling glare reached the far Hufflepuff table. “Carry on.”
As he sat down, the world started up again, and nearly a ton of food landed in the laps, and on the heads, of the students. “Oh Albus,” Minerva muttered, catching his slight chuckle at the sight. “What are we going to do with you?”