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Pointy Horns or Black Hats

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Summary: Inspired by EmylnII’s “Ever After”, Giles and Severus: brothers, best friends, bitter rivals.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Giles-Centered > Pairing: Severus SnapedulcineaFR1590295,82735203205,80824 Jan 0527 Jan 07Yes

Behind the Door

“That’s the noise. Do you hear it?” Buffy said, pointing to the back wall of the training room.

“I’m afraid I don’t hear anything odd.” Giles frowned.

Willow walked right up to the back wall and leaned her ear against the brick. “I think I can hear something, right on the other side of this wall. It’s like a shick-shick-shick.”

Giles joined the girls at the back wall. “Oh, I think I hear it now; it’s very very quiet.”

“Then why don’t you make it louder?” Snape said from his levitating wheelchair. Giles had tried to leave him behind in the office, but as Gran always said, where there’s a wand there’s a way. Severus pointed his wand at the wall. “Sonorus.”

The high pitched squeaking noise soon overwhelmed the space. “Could you shut that off? Hello, sensitive hearing here.” Buffy shot Snape a nasty glare.

“Diminuo.” Severus muttered, listening carefully as the sound dropped down to much more reasonable levels.

“I think we can rule out crickets, demonic or otherwise.” Willow said, listening carefully to the noise.

“I didn’t think crickets could be demonic.” Buffy muttered.

“You never know. If books can be demonic, so can crickets.” Willow reasoned.

“Where exactly is the noise coming from?” Giles started at one corner and began very slowly walking along the back wall. “It sounds like its outside.”

“So we’ve got something outside making weird noises. Well, the good news is the list of diurnal demonic creatures is much shorter than the nocturnal list. They could be pixies or Blaterror nigras or fear demons…” Willow began mentally running through the list of every squeaky demon she could think of.

“Or maybe it’s just opossums?” Buffy offered, looking a bit sheepish about getting everyone’s attention for something so mundane. “It does sound like something is rummaging around in the dumpster too.”

“Or perhaps it’s not an animal making those noises, but rather, the noises are the side effects of a wizard casting a spell.” Giles felt he had to mention that option.

“Last I checked, no spell made squeaky noises.” Severus countered.

“Not true. There was that time that Rookie tried to transfigure his hair brush into a porcupine and it got stuck halfway. That thing squeaked for hours until we could figure out how to get it back.”

“I see. So, you’re suggesting that a nefarious wizard, in an attempt to infiltrate your store, is transfiguring hair brushes into porcupines.”

“No. You said that spells don’t make squeaks. I’m simply pointing out that the consequences from spells can make noises.”

“Yes, but it was a ridiculous suggestion that has no bearing on the current situation.”

“How do you know its not someone’s sneak-o-scope? That could also make squeaky noises if its in disrepair.”

“That’s ridiculous. If a wizard was to go to the hassle of employing a sneak-o-scope, do you really believe they wouldn’t cast the proper lubrication charms on it first?”

Giles opened his mouth to respond, but Buffy interrupted him with a piercing whistle. “The longer you stand her arguing, the louder that noise gets. Now, there’s an easy way to resolve this debate.”

“And that would be?”

“Simple. We open the back door.”

~*~

Rupert had walked down this dead-end hallway at least a dozen times before when he was a little boy, and never did he have any idea that there was something beyond the restrooms and utility closet. He was beginning to think this was all some elaborate prank on Lucius’ part. Any moment now, the blonde would show up to laugh at Rupert for being so pathetic that he was stalking outside a muggle restroom during his summer break. Or, perhaps more likely, Lucius wouldn’t show at all. He would just firecall later in the evening to gloat.

“You look like your father.” A quiet voice interrupted Rupert’s musing.

“Mr. Malfoy?” Rupert jumped up from the bench he had been sitting on. The man’s shocking blonde locks and stormy grey eyes made it obvious that the man was Lucius’ father.

“Was there someone else you were expecting?”

“No, sir. Well, actually, I had thought it would be Lucius meeting me.”

“I procured this job for you. It is my reputation at stake if you were to be unsuitable. I wanted to make sure you would be acceptable before leaving you in Mr. Borgin’s capable hands.” He sneered.

“Oh.” Rupert tried to reconcile this man with his knowledge of Lucius. So many of the boy’s idiosyncrasies were beginning to make sense.

“Do close your mouth, boy; it is not politely to gape. Let’s hope you are more competent with wizarding history than you are with wizarding etiquette. Now follow along; it would be improper to be late.”

“Yes, sir.” Rupert followed behind Mr. Malfoy as the man walked right through the dead end wall, not even stopping to tap it with his cane. As they entered the wizarding hallway, there was a large archway announcing the new exhibit on first century cursed objects from Egypt; on the opposite side of the gallery, there was an announcement posted for an upcoming exhibit on the Four Founders.

“Mr. Malfoy! So glad you could make it today.” A man waved at them from the end of the hall. He paused when he saw Rupert trailing behind. “When you’re through with Mr. Borgin, can you swing by my office? I have words for you from our mutual acquaintance.” The wizard glanced at Rupert one more time.

“Of course.” Mr. Malfoy responded, not even slowing down as he turned into one of the adjoining rooms. He led Rupert through an exhibit on Arthurian magic lore straight into a hidden back room. He finally stopped when they reached a long table where a man was sitting, hunched over an ancient bowl. “Mr. Borgin.”

“Mr. Malfoy!” The man jumped off his stool, nearly knocking the bowl off the table.

“This is Rupert Giles. He’s the Hogwarts student I was telling you about.”

“Hmm, yes, Giles you say? We used to have a Giles in the muggle section. Tell me, boy, do you have any squibs in your lineage?”

“Not that I know of?” Rupert answered. Considering he knew of no other wizards in his lineage at all, it was highly unlikely that there were any squibs.

“Peculiar.” The man mused “How did you do on your history OWL?”

“I got an O.” Rupert answered.

“Wonderful, wonderful. Mr. Malfoy’s son informed me that you had been on an archaeological expedition before. Tell me about it.” The man studied Rupert’s face.

“I accompanied a friend of my father’s to Greece where we worked to uncover a cursed tomb. My job was to catalog any items acquired during the dig.”

“Does that mean you are fluent in Greek?”

“Greek and Latin, yes, sir.”

The short man walked around the table to stand right in front of Rupert. “Greek and Latin, well well.” Mr. Borgin quietly circled Rupert observing the boy as though he were an artifact to be studied. “Are you sure you have no squib relatives?”

“No sir, I mean yes, sir, I mean no squibs, sir.” Rupert stuttered.

“Hmph.” The man scratched at his beard. “Greek and Latin. I didn’t think Hogwarts taught those subjects any more.”

“I learned on my own.” Despite the considerably different fields, Mr. Borgin reminded Rupert of several of the potion masters that would call on Mrs. Snape-Giles. He had that distracted look in his eyes as though his mind was three steps ahead of wherever the conversation was going.

“How’s your Waelic?”

“Pardon?”

“Waelic, its the wizarding form of Gaelic and is hardly ever spoken outside of a few towns such as Hogsmeade, and even there its rare among the younger witches and wizards. Pity, such a lovely language going to waste.”

“I’m afraid I’ve never heard of Waelic.” Rupert tried to ignore the derisive snort coming from Mr. Malfoy.

“I suppose not with a hack like Binns in the history position. Nothing but the Goblin Rebellions, and who ever needs to know about that claptrap.” Mr. Borgin muttered. In a louder voice he stated. “Well, well, then there is something you have to learn from me this summer. You will do. Thank you, Mr. Malfoy. I believe Mr. Alderbridge was hoping to speak to you while you were here.”

“I ran into him on my way in. If you have any no further concerns, I will take my leave.”

“Have a good day, Mr. Malfoy.” Mr. Borgin watched as the stately Slytherin left the workroom. “Great man, that Mr. Malfoy, great man indeed. Mark my words boy, he’ll be Minister some day.”

“If you say so.” Rupert wasn’t sure how to respond to that assertion.

“I suppose you’d like to get started. I have the perfect task for you. Follow me.” The man could walk surprisingly quickly for someone as short, pudgy, and old as Mr. Borgin appeared to be. Rupert had to walk briskly to keep up with the man as he wound his way through the labyrinth of shelves and closets. “Museums have a way of collecting things, both mystical and mundane. You would be surprised by what sorts of items get bequeathed to our collection. You did bring your wand, didn’t you? Mustn’t leave home without it.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Excellent, excellent.” Mr. Borgin stopped in front of a gray door. “A few years ago, the museum received the estate effects of a Lord MacDuff. Now, the particular family that donated these items were muggles. However, there is a MacDuff clan in the wizarding world that has at times been linked to the Ravenclaw line. Ever since that horrible mummy incident in the 20s, our wing has the task of processing all new material before the muggleside gets their hands on it. I haven’t really had the time to go through the effects, and the muggles are getting on my case. Evidently, they are preparing for an exhibit on Scotland for the fall, and would like to know what we have. I want you to go through the items and help sort out the mundane from the magical.”

Mr. Borgin pushed open the door, and Rupert followed him into the room. “Oh my.” Rupert muttered as soon as the lights flared to life. The room must have had some sort of expanding charm on it as the stack of crates appeared to go on for miles.

Mr. Borgin ignored the comment, going instead to the cleared tables by the door. “This will be your workspace for today. You will take an item from the crates, like so.” He went to the first crate, using his wand to pop the lid off. He removed carefully wrapped candlestick and placed it on the table. “Ah, first, hands out!”

Rupert held up his hands in surprise. “Scourgify!” Mr. Borgin quickly cast on his assistant. “You must always have clean hands before you handle anything. Now, we have a candlestick here. Most likely it’s mundane, but perhaps not. Every item must be tested, no matter how dull it appears to be. Just point your wand at it and say ‘priori incantato’.”

Rupert followed the instructions. “Nothing happened.”

“Well, of course nothing happened. It’s just a candlestick. That’s the trouble with this museum. Its so mugglefied that finding the real treasures is like searching for a needle in a haystack. If this was a magic candlestick, the last spell cast upon the object would be displayed. Here.” Mr. Borgin took out his pocketwatch which was currently indicating it was half past breakfast. “I cast the charm and…” A hazy cloud appeared above the watch, spelling out ‘accio’.

“Ah, I see.” Rupert nodded. That spell would have been so useful in Greece for the number of times Quentin had assumed some artifact had no magical worth, only to trigger a curse.

“If you find a mundane object, put it on this side of table. Then take out a tag and number it like so.” Mr. Borgin summoned the box of label tags, and wrote down ‘MacDuff 1’ on the paper tag. He then tied the label to the base of the candlestick. “Then, in the ledger here, write down a brief description. I would say silver candlestick would suffice for this item. If you come across anything magical, I want you to put it on the opposite side of the table, and don’t label it. I’ll take care of that. Do not start on any of the books. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good, good. I will come fetch you at lunch time and you can ask me any questions then.”

Rupert soon found himself alone in the windowless room. His task was no more difficult than what Quentin had him doing last summer, with the added bonus of not having to put up with Quentin. Lucius may have been exaggerating when he had promised that Rupert would have access to Merlin’s personal files, but already Rupert thought this was better than the alternatives. Being allowed to work on his own gave him plenty of time to think, and Rupert had plenty to think about.

His father’s reaction to this job would take a long time to think about. Sir Bradford Giles had gone into the dinner with the Malfoys expecting to be snubbed as a muggle. Cassandra had warned him that even if the Malfoys were not involved in the recent attacks on muggles, they would probably sympathize with the Death Eaters. When Mr. Malfoy had not only been polite, but had offered this position to his son, Bradford had been beside himself.

Initially, his father had planned to send Rupert along with an excavation team to Egypt to get his son out of England for the summer. In fact, meeting with Mr. Malfoy had only strengthened that resolve. However, several of the Travers had interceded, reminding Mr. Giles of the “museum problem.” Ever since the Council raised a zombie in the Egyptian exhibit, they had lost the right of first dibs on all new acquisitions. Now “that other wing” had priority, and several interesting finds from Council excavations had gone missing since that change in protocol. As much as his father loathed to admit it, the Travers were correct in that they needed an inside man, and no other Council member had the wizarding credentials. His father had given Rupert a long talk about the duties of a Council agent and they had spent four hours the previous night reviewing self-defense before he had finally allowed Rupert to go to the museum in the morning. His father had never trusted him with a real Council mission before, and Rupert was at a loss to figure out what had changed. Did his father really think retrieving the missing items would be more important than keeping his son out of the grasp of Death Eaters, or did his father realize something about the political situation that made it less dangerous than the Daily Prophet made it sound?

Rupert was still pondering his father’s motives when there was a knock on the door. “Hello, hello. Are you ready for lunch?” Mr. Borgin interrupted his thoughts.

“Lunch? Is it already that late?”

“Later than that, I imagine. It’s so easy to get lost in the work around here. I don’t suppose you’d want to go out for lunch? There’s a place down the block that does an excellent fish and chips platter.”

Before Rupert could respond, his stomach growled loudly. With a blush, Rupert answered. “Sounds wonderful.”

The pair left the room, Mr. Borgin locking and warding each door on their way out of the working area. Rupert couldn’t help but notice Mr. Borgin’s paranoia, as he cast layers of wards around the various items on the work tables. As they moved out into the museum proper, Mr. Borgin glanced both ways before entering any hallway and refused to say anything until the pair was out of the museum, down the block, and into the restaurant.

“Sorry about that, but you never know who’s watching or listening around there.” Mr. Borgin said as soon as they had sat down at a table. “I know its horrible for me to take you to a restaurant like this, but the closest place that serves pumpkin juice is the Leaky Cauldron, and that’s way on the other side of town. I hope you’re not terribly offended.”

“Oh, no, not at all.” Rupert had been to this very spot plenty of times before when Nana had taken him to the museum.

“Good, good. One can never tell which way someone leans. Honestly, I had forgotten that you had come in with Mr. Malfoy until we were already here. Please don’t tell Mr. Malfoy about this.”

“I doubt it will ever come up.” Rupert replied.

“Oh of course not.” His new boss waved it off, although there was a bit of panic still left in his voice.

“If you don’t mind me asking, how did you meet Mr. Malfoy anyway?” Rupert asked, knowing his brother would be very curious about the Malfoys social network.

“I went to Hogwarts with him.”

“Oh, so you’re a Slytherin as well?”

“Me? Heavens no.” Mr. Borgin chuckled. A waitress interrupted to take their orders. Mr. Borgin waited until she had walked away before answering. “I was in Ravenclaw. The rest of my family was in Slytherin, going back three generations, but I was just never that focused. Not that I mind it. I have a good job doing what I love, and I let my brother take care of the politics. He’s a member of the Knockturn Alley Merchant’s Association, you see. They’re very active in Ministry politics. My brother was actually in Mr. Malfoy’s grade, so they are rather close.”

“Ah.” Rupert nodded. Given the extensive answer, Rupert would have been able to guess his new boss was not a Slytherin even if he hadn’t said so. No Slytherin would provide so much information without being asked first.

“I suppose I should ask you which house you were in, but I think I can guess.”

“Slytherin.” Rupert answered the unasked question.

“In the same class as Lucius, I suppose. He’s a very intelligent boy. He always has questions.” Mr. Borgin mused. “I had mentioned to his father that if he had any interest in pursuing history, I would gladly take him under my wing, but alas, I suppose a family like the Malfoys spend more time thinking about the future than about the past.”

“I suppose that’s true.” The conversation lagged for a minute. “So, how much do you actually interact with the muggleside of the museum?” Rupert broke the silence by asking one of the questions that had been bothering him all morning.

“I would say most of the museum staff doesn’t interact at all. We have our own floo lounge, so most of the staff never ventures into that side. Of course, being in charge of new acquisitions, I have to.” Mr. Borgin sighed. “It’s terribly troublesome, going over there to leave notes in their mailboxes everytime something comes in. That side is even talking about getting me a fellytone, although I don’t know why anyone would want one. From what I understand, they just make noise.”

“Do you mean a telephone?” Rupert asked.

“Yes, yes, I do believe that’s what they called it, now that you mention it. Of course if Mr. Alderbridge gets his way it won’t matter.”

“Really? Who’s Mr. Alderbridge?”

“Oh dear. I should have introduced you two this morning. Mr. Alderbridge is the main curator of the Wizarding British Museum.”

“I see.” The waitress arrived at that moment with their food. Conversation lagged as the two men dug into their meals, but Rupert had the nagging feeling that there was something important he was missing, so he continued with his questioning. “So why would Mr. Alderbridge not want you to have a telephone?”

“Oh, it has nothing to do with telephones; it has to do with Mr. Alderbridge’s vision. He wants to see the Wizarding Museum break away from the British Museum. So far he’s been rather ineffective at convincing the Ministry of Magic to underwrite a new museum when there are so many other projects they must afford, but he has hope. Word has it that Mr. Malfoy and some of his business partners are considering donating enough money so that we could afford a new building. Of course, if Mr. Malfoy was the benefactor, we’d probably move to Avebury.”

“Avebury? Really? Do you think that’s a good idea?”

“Well, I don’t suppose it’s really my decision, now is it? I certainly couldn’t afford a museum.” Mr. Borgin gave a self-deprecating chuckle.

“Yes, but what do you think about it?”

“Well…now, mind you, Mr. Alderbridge probably knows better than me, but I think it would be a crying shame. Sure, we have problems when the occasional toddler wanders in and his mother can’t find him, but generally those kids will get their Hogwarts letters in a few years anyway. To move it away from London would be a shame. I also doubt we’d get first claim on any new shipments if we were so far away. Of course, most of the shipments are purely muggle, and it’s a hassle to be the first ones to sort through it all, but we’d barely be able to have an exhibit if we didn’t include mystical artefacts that were mixed in with the mundane at some point or other. Crying shame it would be to lose all that.”

“That would be a pity.” Rupert agreed.

“Yes, well, best to not dwell on that, no point worrying about the future when we can worry about the past.” Mr. Borgin offered Rupert a forced smile.

“True enough. So Waelic…”

~*~

Lily stood at the doorway to the Great Hall, nervous to enter. After spending a single week at her grandparents’ house, she had returned to school, but it felt nothing like the Hogwarts she was used to. It was so quiet. So far the only people she had seen was Madame Pomphrey and Severus Snape; Madame Pomphrey to go over the basics of her mediwitch apprenticing and Severus Snape because his grandmother had been responsible for getting the two students to Hogsmeade that morning. If only Meggie had stayed instead of going on holiday with her parents.

“Door opening charms were first year material, Evans. Surely you haven’t forgotten by now.” The voice drawled from behind her.

“No, I haven’t forgotten.” Lily stuttered. “I was just…”

“Don’t mind Severus. That’s his feeble attempt at a joke.” Another familiar voice chimed in.

“Remus? What are you doing here?” Lily turned around to face the two boys.

“Well, I heard this was the place where all the hip people were congregating this summer.” Remus teased. “How could I miss that?”

“Well, I suppose if you and I are here, you couldn’t have heard too wrong.” Lily joked back, even though her heart wasn’t in it.

“Oh bother. I’m not going to sit around listening to Gryffindor banter while my food is getting cold. Excuse me.” Severus pushed past Lily to enter the Great Hall, striding quickly to the table set aside for students.

“What’s his problem?” Lily muttered.

“If I were to answer that question thoroughly, we would definitely miss dinner. Come on. We can’t let him get all the good rolls.” Remus escorted Lily into the Great Hall. The front of the hall looked as it always did- with the regal faculty table overseeing everything from its raised stage. However, where there used to be four long tables for each of the houses, there was now just a small round table.

“Where is everyone?” Lily whispered.

“Well, Madame Vlabatsky is training Madame Trelawney in the tower. Hagrid went to the moors to obtain some sort of fancy soil for herbology, and probably won’t be back until tomorrow. During the summer, Jigger usually takes his meals in his own chambers. I think that’s everyone who’s not already here.” Remus filled in with the rumors he had heard.

“I meant, where are the students?” Lily answered.

“Oh. I think we’re it this year.”

“I thought there would be more. Aren’t there usually more?”

“Well, now that you mention it...” Remus answered with a smirk, “I heard that a lot of the upcoming sixth years just aren’t all that bright. No wonder the faculty wouldn’t want to take them on as apprentices.”

“What about our class? What about the Ravenclaws?”

“What about the Ravenclaws?”

“They’re an intelligent bunch, why aren’t they apprenticing?”

“They always struck me as a bit flighty. Sure they’re intelligent, but are they capable of staying on one subject long enough to apprentice in it? The only one from our year I think had any potential is that Hufflepuff, what’s her name.”

“Beatrice Botts.” Severus answered while pretending he was not paying attention to their conversation.

“Right, Beatrice Botts. She sure is a whiz with plants. I wonder if her family will let her stick with it.”

“Why wouldn’t they?” Lily asked.

“The Botts Confectionary is a rather large business to maintain. Some families aren’t so understanding about their children going their own ways.”

“That’s nonsense. Besides, having a good sense of herbology would be useful for finding new ingredients, wouldn’t it? So why isn’t she here?”

“Sprout’s out.” Severus once again answered without raising his glance from his plate.

“Oh that’s right. Sprout always goes on a collecting trip in the summer. So, if you think about it, the only professors available to take apprentices would be Kettleburn and McGonagall. McGonagall had two last year, so its only fair that she gets a summer off.” Remus reasoned. “And Kettleburn, well everyone knows that Kettleburn is just waiting to retire. I doubt he’s taking any apprentices ever again.”

“That’s poppycock and you know it. The reason we’re the only students here this summer is that parents are worried about leaving their children alone for that long, given the political climate.” Severus finally got sick of the banter, and decided to officially intrude.

“That’s not true.” Remus answered. “Everyone knows Hogwarts is the safest place to be. Dumbledore is the strongest wizard in the world. He defeated Grindelwald.”

“True, but the threat isn’t from Grindelwald. The threat is from hundreds of years of pent up prejudices; that’s not something Dumbledore can fight on his own. Any parent that cared for their child would want to keep the child as close to them as possible.”

“Aha! So that’s what this is about.” Remus cut in. “You’re just bitter because your mother never wanted to spend summers with you. Don’t look so flabbergasted. I know all about your summers with Nana, Rupert, and your tutors.”

“Rupert doesn’t know when its better to keep his mouth shut.” Severus growled.
“Don’t blame Rupert. You told me about it last summer. Besides, you’re missing the point which is your logic is faulty. Just because your parents sent you here because they don’t want to spend time with you doesn’t mean that every student staying at home is basking in their parents’ attention. Take Sirius for example. His father has ordered him to spend the summer cleaning the London house while the rest of the family is in Avebury. Many students could be equally as well neglected here as they are at home. I’m sorry, Sev, but your argument doesn’t hold water.” Remus answered with a smile.

Severus looked like he was going to say something in response, but thought better of it, and returned to his dinner. Remus cast a nervous glance at Lily, worried that she might have been upset by the political talk. While the Ministry had never shown that her parents’ deaths were Death Eater related, the Marauders had their theories of just what was going on in the world. “So, Lily, how’s working with Pomphrey?”

“We only talked for a few hours today.” Lily answered, tucking a strand of her auburn hair behind her ear. “I think it will be good. She seems nice.”

“She is. At least, she’s very patient with me considering the number of times I’ve
had to take James, Sirius, or Peter there.”

“True, the only big problem this summer is that she expects me to make a bunch of potions, and I’m not sure… is that an owl?” Lily was distracted by a large dark bird circling over the Great Hall almost like a vulture.

“Give the girl a treat, she can recognize an animal taught to all toddlers.” Severus sarcastically responded.

“That’s impossible. Mail only arrives at breakfast time.”

“During the school year, that’s true, but during the summer the owls deliver their messages as soon as they arrive. Less traffic in the owlery, I imagine.” Remus answered before Severus could snap back an answer.

“I wonder who that owl is going to; it seems to be content going around in circles.” Lily watched the bird cruise over the faculty table.

“Oh for Salazar’s sake.” Severus muttered. “Svava, quit playing around. I’ve got a nice bit of pork chop for you.” Severus called out to the owl. The large eagle owl circled once more over the Great Hall, before heading to the student table.

“I take it you know the owl?” Remus asked.

“It’s clearly one of the Malfoys' owls. They specifically breed their owls to have black wingtips, and they always name them after the Valkyrie. As Mr. Malfoy’s owl delivered a message to Professor Jigger just a few minutes before dinner, that must be one of Lucius’ owls, and since Brunhilde is recovering from a flying accident, it must be Svava.”

“Ah of course. Silly me, I should have known.” Remus smirked. Leave it to the Malfoys to name their familiars after obscure Norse mythology. The owl gracefully landed next to Severus’ place, casting a nasty glare at the Gryffindors before offering her leg to Severus.

Severus removed the scroll tied to the foot. “Thank you, Svava. You may return home. I’ll send my response through Vitupera when she arrives.” He cut a portion of his dinner off and offered the piece to the bird. The eagle owl reached her talon around him and yanked the main pork chop bone from his plate, taking the majority of Severus’ dinner with her.

“This brings to mind the eternal question. Do familiars take after their owners, or do owners take after their familiars?” Remus joked.

Severus refused to rise to the bait, not wanting to encourage Remus’ witty criticism of his housemates. In truth, he was thinking along the same lines. He set down his fork and reached for the scroll, sealed with the Malfoy crest. “Hmm.” He commented as he read through the letter, ignoring the stares from across the table. Finally he reached the end, rolled up the letter, and tucked it in his robes.

“So?” Remus broke the silence, “What does Lucius have to say?”

“Nothing relevant to you.” Severus snapped back.

“But is it something important, or is he just sending his greetings? Come on man, you know how starved for news we get around here.”

“If it got back to Lucius that I was reporting his news to Gryffindors, of all beasts, than I would surely earn the Malfoy wrath. I’d rather not go through that right now. Thank you very much.”

“Oh come on, Lucius’ wrath can’t be that bad.” Lily argued back, more to try to get Severus involved in a conversation than because she actually cared what Malfoy had to say. “Rupert’s crossed Lucius half a dozen times, and nothing bad ever happens.”

“How would you know nothing bad ever happens? You know nothing about the situation at all.”

“Rupert would never do something just to appease Lucius.” Lily insisted.

“Ha.” Severus laughed once. “Shows what you know about Rupert. Rupert is spending his entire summer in an apprenticeship he didn’t really ask for just to appease Lucius.”

“Yeah, well, Rupert’s right about one thing.” Lily frowned as she found her self without a real argument back. She had no idea what Rupert was up to this summer, and she wasn’t about to call Severus’ bluff, just in case he wasn’t lying.

“And just what is my step brother right about?” Severus smirked, knowing he was getting the last word in this argument.

“You laugh weird.” Lily retorted.

“Ha, ha, ha, ha!”

“Remus?” Lily watched her fellow Gryffindor crack up at the seemingly weak comeback. “Remus?”

“Tee, hee, hee, you laugh weird, hee, ha, ha.” Was all they could make out from Remus’ giggling through the rest of dinner.

~*~
A/N: I know, I strayed from my normal formatting. The boys went their seperate ways for the summer and I couldn't decide which to follow, so I went for both. Sorry.
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