A Duel or Two
“Put that away.” Giles glanced up from the pile of receipts to see his brother waving his wand and muttering.
Severus just shot Giles a scathing glare.
“I’m serious. Put that away. You shouldn’t have your wand out anyway.”
“Well then why did you give me a book that’s impossible to read?” Severus was beginning to regret insisting he come along this morning. Watching that picture box in Giles’ living room was way more comfortable than being cooped up in this tiny office.
“It’s about potions.”
“Right, and that became clear once I cast the translation charms on it, but you seem to have forgotten that I, like the vast majority of humanity, do not speak dead languages.”
“Poppycock; you know Latin, which is the poster child for dead languages. Besides, Urdu is not a dead language.”
“Oh, so that’s what all these squiggles are supposed to be.”
“If you couldn’t read it, you could have just told me. I would have found you another book. You can’t just cast charms like that.”
“Why ever not?”
“For one thing, the Ministry can record all wand actions, and whoever is after you could trace you by it.”
“We’re on the bloody Hellmouth, the Ministry can’t trace anything here, and if they could, their apparitions and portkeys would just get them lost when they came to arrest me. Besides you cast a charm on my chair this morning. Undoubtedly, your wand use would raise red flags too if they can track anything here.”
“That was different. I had no other choice.”
“You always have a choice, and now I choose to give up acting like a muggle and start being a wizard. “Magnific…”
“Stop!” Before he even realized what he was doing, Giles had whipped out his wand and had it facing his brother.
“Are you challenging me to a duel, Rupert Giles?”
“No, I’m ordering you to put that down. Now.” Giles grumbled.
Severus rested his wand on the book on his lap. “Magnificare.” He chanted. The writing on the page stretched out, making the fine print easier to read.
“I’m warning you.” Giles growled, holding his wand like it was his favorite rapier.
“Vertiventris! Lux!” Severus dared Giles with innocuous charms to turn the book green and brighten the lights.
“I said to stop that!” Giles growled.
“Your warning means nothing.” Severus muttered.
“Expigere!” The book in Severus’ lap slammed shut and threw itself at the book shelf.
“You used to be a competent wizard at best, and now you’re not even that.”
“How dare you say that after all I’ve done to protect you.”
“Protect me? You’ve never protected me.”
“Are you kidding me? I’ve always had to step in for you.”
“That’s a laugh.”
“No,” Giles glared. “Rictusempra!” He growled at Severus, who let out a strangled ‘HA!’ “That was a laugh.”
“Oh, so we’re going there, are we?” Severus turned his wand to face Giles. “Expli…”
Severus’ curse was interrupted by Willow sticking her head in the office. “Um, excuse me, but are you guys okay?”
“That really wasn’t funny, Rosier.” Severus rolled his eyes.
“Are you kidding? It’s a classic.”
“I have to side with Sev on this one.” Lucius ruled. It was the first really warm day of the spring, and the sixth year boys had taken advantage of the situation by staking out a comfortable corner of the western courtyard.
“I think it would have been funnier if you got the accent right. American wizards don’t talk like that.” Damon added.
“I don’t know, it sorta made sense.” Rastaban shrugged, peeling the leaves from the hawthorne tree he was leaning against. “But it wasn’t that funny.”
“Fine. Oh damn, is that clock right?” Evan glanced up at the clock tower across the courtyard. “I’m late for yearbook. I’ll see you at dinner.” He picked up the robe he had been sitting on and dashed for the archives room.
“We should probably get ready for quidditch.” Lucius stood up.
“I don’t see why Parkinson called the extra practice. There’s no doubt we’re ready for Hufflepuff.” Damon muttered, as he joined Lucius.
“Of course we’re ready for Hufflepuff, but if Gryffindor beats Ravenclaw, we’d have to have at least a hundred points on Hufflepuff to win the cup. We can’t just win, we have to crush them.”
“I have no doubt you’ll be able to do that.” Severus watched his housemates head off. “See you at dinner.”
“Ta!” They boys called back, leaving Severus alone in the courtyard. He pulled the latest issue of Ars Alchemica from his bag, not noticing the girls looking out of the second floor window.
“He’s really rather sad.” Margaret said, peering down at the dark form sitting underneath the hawthorne tree.
“Sad? I wouldn’t say that.” Lily watched Severus intently from her perch on the window seat. Before this winter, she probably would have agreed with her best friend’s assessment, but she had seen Severus at home, and while he sometimes had a cruel wit and a pessimistic attitude, he wasn’t nearly as sad as she had assumed.
“He’s all alone.”
“It’s rather hard to read when you’re surrounded by people.”
“I suppose you’re right. And his friends were just there.”
“Do you really think they’re his friends?”
“Of course, they’re all in Slytherin.”
“Does that mean they’re all friends?”
“Of course they are. Think about all that Rupert knows about those guys. If they weren’t all friends, they surely wouldn’t spend so much time talking together.” Margaret assured her friend.
“What do you think he’s reading?”
“Some alchemy journal undoubtedly.” Lily shrugged.
“I know he’s a wiz at potions, but he can’t seriously be reading potions on a weekend. I bet it’s a muggle comic book.”
“Oh really? Are you willing to put any money on that bet?”
“I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Rupert smuggles muggle books to Severus. That’s why he had to wait until his friends left before he could take it out. He’s probably got a secret desire to be a muggle pharmacist or something.” Margaret teased.
“Oh, undoubtedly that’s true.” Lily giggled. “Granted, when I saw his room this winter, all the books on the bookshelves were potion related texts, but maybe he was just hiding all the comic books behind them.”
“Of course he was hiding them. He’s a Slytherin. They make a sport of hiding things.”
“Hello, ladies. Who’s hiding what?”
“Hi Sirius.” Margaret blushed.
“Good afternoon, Sirius, James.” Lily greeted her fellow Gryffindors coldly.
“Hello, Lily. That’s a lovely blouse you’re wearing.” James grinned at the girl.
“Thanks James, and you know that would be much more convincing if you were talking to my face.” Lily grimaced.
“She’s got you there.” Sirius chuckled.
“Do you have to be so crude?” Margaret punched Sirius on the shoulder.
“Ouch!” He rubbed his arm gently. “So, you haven’t answered my question. Who’s
“Nothing?” Lily quickly replied.
“Nothing? I don’t think I believe you.”
“She’s right. It’s nothing. We’re just chatting.”
“Is that Snivellus out there? You wouldn’t have been discussing Snape the Snake, would you?” Sirius leaned between the girls to stare out the window.
“No, why would we be doing that?”
“He’s a Slytherin; that’s what you said. So, what do you think this Slytherin is hiding? Maybe he’s practicing the Dark Arts again.”
“Just let it go.” Lily pleaded.
“What sort of wizards would we be if we let a slimey sneak like Snape hide things? Maybe we should ask him what he’s hiding.” Sirius bluffed to see if he could impress Margaret.
“Please, don’t bother him.” Lily tried again.
“What’s so important about Snape? Why are you watching him?” James asked, studying Lily’s face carefully. “Don’t tell me you like him.”
“It’s nothing. Shouldn’t you guys be going somewhere else now?”
“Yeah, shouldn’t you two be watching the quidditch pitch or something? Where’s Remus?” Margaret echoed.
“He’s in the library with Peter.” James answered, at the same time Sirius said, “Slytherin has the pitch now.”
“Oh.” Lily frowned. There went all her ideas for distracting the boys.
“Of course, if you think we should be… yes, that would be perfect.” Lily and Margaret could practically see the gears turning in Sirus’ head, “James, come on. We’ve got something to do.”
“But… oh never mind.” James frowned and followed Sirius towards the stairwell. “Bye ladies. I’ll see you at dinner, Lily!”
“I think someone has a crush on you.” Margaret sing-songed as soon as the boys had disappeared from sight.
“He’s so very obvious.”
“What, you mean James-I’m the center of the world- Potter?”
“No, I mean James- there’s a reason why every girl in my house adores me-Potter.”
“Just because he’s on the quidditch team doesn’t mean I have to like him.”
“He isn’t just on the quidditch team, he is the quidditch team.” Margaret teased. “Besides, that’s not the only reason every seventh year girl likes him.”
“They can have him. If I had a knut for every time he…” Lily glanced out the window to see James and Sirius sneaking up on Severus, wands drawn. “Uh oh. Meggie, go get Rupert.”
“Why? What … oh.” Margaret glanced outside. “You know, if they would just quit harassing Severus, I bet he wouldn’t prank our house so much.”
“Get Rupert. I’m going out to break it up.”
“Fine, but don’t take away any of our house points, please? Pretty please?” Meggie called back as she started running for the library.
Lily went running for the stairs. She reached the courtyard door just as the first curses started flying. “Stop this!” She yelled, hoping the boys would by some miracle listen to her.
Unfortunately, she distracted Sirius mid curse, and as he turned to her, the Petrificus Totalis hit her instead of his intended target.
“Lily!” James yelped, but was distracted from helping her as Severus got a lucky shot with a pinching hex that was not entirely legal but very effective.
“Titillando!” Sirius got back at Severus with a tickling hex.
“HA!” Severus cried out as he bent over in pain from the tickling. “Arma Corta!” He responded with a spell that he had scrounged from the Giles family library. Several large cuts appeared on Sirius’ left arm, bleeding through his shirt.
Rupert, Margaret, and Remus ran into the courtyard, out of breath from sprinting from the library. “Petrificus Totalis!” Rupert froze James mid-hex. “Lupin, call off your dogs. Margaret, you get Lily. I’ll cover Sev.” Rupert ordered as he headed for the fight between Severus and Sirius.
“Padfoot, would you please stop.” Remus called to his friend as he ran for the stop.
“Did you see that, Moony? He’s dark! He needs to be stopped.” Sirius snarled.
“That’s it, Fontiformis!” Rupert hit his brother with the spell they had learned last week in Transfigurations, turning Severus into a marble fountain, with a thin trickle of water running out of his mouth.
Catching on quickly, Remus cast the same spell on Sirius. “Great, you guys have four statues that we can’t move away and that will be raving mad when they wake up. That’s brilliant. I’m so glad I asked for your help.” Margaret muttered.
“Actually, two of them are just frozen and the other two are fountains. I couldn’t remember the charm for statues.” Remus shrugged.
“So, what do we do now?” Margaret ignored her house mate.
“Well, first we get Lily back to normal. I suppose you know how to do that?” Rupert answered.
“Of course. That’s first year dueling.” Remus pointed his wand at Lily. “Animato.”
“And if you think you can… oh. Oh my.” Lily said, as she came out of her frozen state. “Well, I’m glad you got this almost under control.” Lily muttered when she noticed the state of the others in the courtyard.
“So, almighty prefect, what do we do next?” Remus teased lightly. Lily just shrugged, a bit stunned by the sight of the three boys frozen mid fight.
“We need to get these guys out of here. If they see each other when they get unfrozen, we’ll be right back where we started. And while I’d love it for Lily to slap your brother with a dozen house points for fighting, I know these two lugs will just respond in kind.” Margaret reasoned.
“Right, so let’s levitate them. I’ll take Sev this way, you take them that way.” Rupert decided.
“Leviosa!” The four voices chanted.
While James Potter floated up off the ground, the three wands trained on Sirius and Severus accomplished nothing. “It’s no use. They’re too heavy.” Lily wiped the sweat from her brow.
“Well we can’t just leave them here. If any professor walks by, we’ll both lose house points for sure.”
“Yes, it is a bit obvious what they were doing.” Remus observed.
“Remus, can you at least get James out of here?” Lily appealed to the most reasonable of the Gryffindor bunch.
“As you wish.” Remus tilted his head. “Alright, Prongs, time for us to leave. Leviosa!” He levitated his friend back into the castle.
“What if we unfreeze them both at the same time?” Margaret suggested.
“No, that won’t work.”
“What if we unfreeze them and then immediately cast whatever they cast on you and James? Then we could move them at least.”
“That would work if we knew what spell they used on me. I don’t know about you,
but I never bothered to learn the dueling spells.” Lily frowned.
“Don’t feel bad; at least you can coax a decent pitch from a tune toad. These guys couldn’t say the same.” Rupert offered in jest.
“Could we transfigure them into something lighter?” Margaret offered.
“I know.” Lily picked a twig and placed it between the two boys. “Formis Muris!”
EEP! The girls screeched as the twig formed into a very dazed mouse.
“Formis Muralis?” Rupert quickly corrected and the mouse turned into a three foot high wall separating the boys. “Magnificare?” The wall grew another inch.
“Brilliant. That wall won’t block anything.” Margaret teased.
“It beats putting a mouse between them.” Rupert shot back.
“Hey! It was a good idea. I just mispronounced it.” Lily replied.
“Well, if we can make the wall a little taller, it might work.” Rupert muttered.
“Ah, having a bit of trouble there?” The three students jumped backwards in fright. How long had Dumbledore been watching them anyway?
“You could say that?” Lily blushed.
“Perhaps I can help.”
“Sure.” Margaret quickly cut off Rupert’s denial. “We were just practicing some transfiguration spells and we get stuck. Do you know how to raise a wall?”
“It’s been awhile since I’ve taken transfiguration, but I still remember a few things. For instance, I would think transfiguring the fountains would be a higher priority.”
“No!” The three students replied.
“Really? Last I checked transfiguring humans was much more dangerous… not to mention against school rules.”
“They’re not humans!” Margaret quickly replied, ignoring the glare from Lily.
“They’re chessmen, from my chess set.” Rupert bluffed.
“Oh? They bear a remarkable likeness to Mr. Snape and Mr. Black.”
“Really? Why, what a remarkable coincidence.” Rupert tried to cover for his weak lie.
“So, Professor Dumbledore, how would you make this wall taller?”Lily cut in.
“Altus.” Dumbledore waved his wand at the wall, which shot up to a good six feet. “Hmm, that rhymes with my name. I suppose I should go look into that, eh?” And with a twinkle in his eye, Dumbldore crossed the courtyard and went into the door on the opposite side.
“Whew, that was a close one.” Margaret breathed a sigh of relief.
“Are you kidding? He knows exactly what was going on. He let us off the hook.” Rupert announced.
“I don’t care if he knows or doesn’t know. I’m just glad we’re off the hook. Not that we should be on the hook anyway; it’s not like we started this fight.” Lily muttered.
“No, we just have to end it. How do we do this?” After a short huddle, the three thought they had come up with a reasonable plan.
“And if you blow this, I’m taking points off Slytherin.” Lily warned as Rupert got behind Severus.
“Way to take off the pressure. Okay, you guys stand on the other side.” Rupert held his wand hand up to Severus’ back and got his other arm ready to drag. “Reverto!”
“Huh, where did…?” was all Severus got out before Rupert had covered his mouth and dragged him behind the hawthorne tree.
“Now if you value your manly bits, I recommend you stay low and silent until I say so.” Rupert ordered. Severus shot him a dirty look but didn’t say anything, so Rupert signaled Lily who responded with another. “Reverto!”
“Wha…? Where did that sneaky snake go?” The boys could hear Sirius from the other side of the wall.
“You don’t remember? It was very impressive! James turned him into this wall.” Margaret gushed. “Really, some nice transfiguration work, don’t you think?”
“He’s…” Just then Lily peaked her head out of the doorway Dumbledore had exited through. “Hurry up! Professor Jigger is coming.”
“We’ve got to go! Hurry up.” Margaret dragged Sirius through the other door. “Let’s catch up with James and Remus, before Jigger finds Snivellus.”
“Right.” Sirius let himself be dragged away, completely missing the two figures hiding behind the hawthorne tree. Rupert kept Severus down until Lily came back to give him the all clear.
“Whew, that was close.” Rupert relaxed.
“You moron!” Severus turned on his step-brother.
“I’m a moron? I’m not the one who got into a fight when I was badly outnumbered. I’m not the one using unforgiveables in a courtyard when any professor could walk by at any time.”
“I didn’t use an unforgiveable. The only unforgiveables are Imperio, Crucio, and Avada K…”
“Right, but Arma Corta isn’t exactly legal around here now, is it? If you had gotten caught, they would have thrown you out for sure.”
“If I had been able to finish the fight. I wouldn’t have gotten caught.”
“That’s not true.”
“How would you know?”
“He knows because Dumbledore walked through here right as we were trying to get you out of this. If it had been any other professor, you’d be in some serious trouble. As it was, if it wasn’t for your brother’s quick thinking, Dumbledore would have had to write you up.” Lily cut in.
“Fine. But why did you have to tell Black that Potter won the fight? Now I’ll never live this down.”
“You know Sev, if you weren’t my brother, I’d slap you. Now, are you coming back to the commons room with me or not?”
“Yes, just a minute, let me grab my things.”
“Wait, why are you going to your commons room? I thought you were coming from the library.” Lily asked.
“Well, yeah, but that was before.” Rupert shrugged.
“Before we had to plan revenge.” Severus supplied the answer.
“Boys.” Lily rolled her eyes. As the pair walked off towards Slytherin House, Lily wandered in search of Margaret. After all, the two girls needed to have a serious talk about this fight. Not only did Lily need to remind Margaret of what a dork Sirius was for hexing her, but she and Margaret would have to rehash all the reasons why Rupert should have been sorted into Gryffindor for all his bravery and strength. Oh yes, this gossip session would definitely last until dinner.