There was nothing worse than being left alone with your thoughts and no paper or pen to write with, Giles mused. It had been an hour since anyone had checked on his brother, and he had gotten quite bored counting ceiling tiles and guessing what potions Sev would sew into his clothing. He briefly considered calling Anya to find out how the store was doing, but realized that she would easily misconstrue it as him not trusting her to last an entire hour without his oversight. He then thought of calling Joyce, and asking her to bring over some paper, but he wouldn’t dream of taking advantage of her kind nature, even if she did offer. He was about to go to the nurse’s stand and ask for scratch paper, when a moan from the bed distracted him.
“Severus, are you awake?” Giles muttered.
The head rolled along the pillow and a pair of black eyes stared fuzzily at Giles. “I’ve died and gone to hell?” A raspy voice guessed.
“True on the latter, but not so much the former.” Giles answered. “Shall I get the doctor for you?”
“Needle.” Severus growled, looking down at his hand.
“Yes, that’s how they’re feeding you. You were hardly in a
position to swallow. Oh come now, I’ve had that before, and it barely itches. Quit making that face.”
The scowl traveled from his hand back to his brother. “Thirsty.” Severus admitted.
“I’ll get a nurse. Just a minute.” Giles put his questions aside for the moment as he went in search of a nurse. The entire wing seemed deserted, so Giles wandered into the next hall where there was a flurry of activity.
“Excuse me, Nurse Kendall?”
“Oh, Mr. Giles, what are you doing here?”
“I was looking for a nurse.”
Before he could continue, the nurse cut in. “Well, this is certainly the place for it. We’ve been getting calls all morning for people with head traumas. Normally our mornings are so quiet.” The nurse muttered wistfully. “Oh well, goes with the job.”
“Yes, I suppose it does.”
“So what do you want?”
“Sev woke up.”
“Oh really?” She checked her watch. “He must have a fast metabolism.”
“Yes, well, he said he was thirsty.”
“He’s forming complete sentences? That’s surprising. That was quite a dose the doctor gave him.”
“Well, he just said ‘thirsty.’” Giles blushed.
“Ah, well, let’s just get him something for that, shall we?” Giles followed the nurse to the nurses’ station. As she grabbed a paper cup, slipped some ice into it, and pulled a bottle out of the fridge, she inquired, “So, Mr. Giles, I don’t suppose there’s a Mrs. Giles?” The nurse not so subtly asked while filling the cup with the fake cherry flavored drink.
“Ah, no, not as far as I’m aware. At least, last I heard, Sev was still a bachelor.” Giles answered, being intentionally obtuse. “I would have contacted her otherwise.”
“I was referring to you.” The nurse fluttered her eyelashes while reaching for a plastic lid.
“Oh, well in that case… no.” Giles answered weakly.
“Really? I would have thought a man like you would have settled down by now. Divorced?”
“No, I’ve never been married.” Giles admitted, watching the nurse grab a straw from a box and carefully open it while leaving the paper sleeve on the drinking end.
“So you’re on the market?” She winked at him. Then her face went blank, and Giles couldn’t help but wonder if she was having trouble thinking and doing anything else simultaneously. “Oh God, it just occurred to me, are you, you know, batting for the other team?”
“Good grief woman, I’m British, not gay! Not that it’s any of your business.” Giles was affronted. It suddenly became crystal clear where Harmony had gotten her social skills from. No wonder the intelligent Ms. Chase had acted like such an airhead, if this was the type of stimulating conversation she was forced to endure from her friends on a daily basis.
“Of course, deary, whatever you say.” She patted him lightly on the back, then handed him the cup. “I need to get back to the other hall, but this should tide your brother over until someone can stop by the room.”
“Thank you.” Giles muttered, eager to put some distance between himself and Nurse Kendall.
“Severus?” He muttered, entering the dim room.
“Ru?” A tired voice responded.
“I got something for you to drink.” He brought the cup over to his brother side and held the straw for Severus.
The patient took two large swallows, paused for a moment, took another more tentative sip and spit it out. “What was that for?” Rupert asked in annoyance, setting the cup down so he could wipe off his hand.
“I can’t believe you would give me that. Are you trying to kill me?”
“What are you on about?”
“Merman’s blood? That’s low of you, hoping I’ll drown on a punctured lung.” Severus bitterly scolded.
“I’ve tasted merman’s blood, you can’t fool me.”
“Since when have mermen tasted like fake cherry? It’s Gatorade, you git.”
“So muggles feed their ill the blood of alligators now? How dense do you think I am?” Severus scowled.
“No you twit, it’s a juice that’s loaded with nutrients to replace what you’ve lost. They just call it Gatorade. See, look, it’s perfectly safe.” Giles took a sip, trying not to wince at the sickly salty sweet flavor. “I swear everything in this is completely artificial. The most magically reactive ingredient in here is salt.” His brother obviously wasn’t convinced, so Rupert patiently held eye contact while Severus’ piercing glare studied his thoughts. “You know you really shouldn’t be doing legilimancy when your energy is so low.”
“Fine. It’s juice.” Severus finally conceded.
“There, now do you want more or not?”
“Just a little bit.” Severus grudgingly admitted.
Rupert brought the cup back over to his brother, positioning the straw so that Severus could resume sipping. “Besides, even if it was merman’s blood, the worst it would do would be to give you hiccups.”
“Hiccups can be deadly with punctured lungs.”
“You’ve got broken ribs, not punctured lungs. Quit being such a
baby. How do you feel?”
“Like I was run over by a stampede of hippogriffs. Now shut up and let me drink in peace.” As Giles held the cup for his brother, he couldn’t help but wonder if all Snapes were so grumpy in hospitals, or if it was just his step-brother.
Black eyes opened slowly to find a pair of brown eyes looking upside down at them. “Hell. I’ve gone to hell.” Came the murmur from the infirmary bed.
“Sev? You awake?” Rupert peered down at his step-brother.
“I hope not.” Severus grumpily replied.
“Good.” Rupert sat back in the chair next to the bed. “If you weren’t awake by tomorrow, I would have had to owl you mother.”
“What? Why?” Severus woke up immediately at that threat and tried to sit up, only to realize that every muscle in his body was resisting the movement. “Ow.”
“Ow? Come on, what happened to that Slytherin bravery?” Rupert teased.
“That’s Gryffindor, you git. Slytherins aren’t supposed to get hurt in the first place. That’s what Hufflepuff is for, canon fodder.” Severus groaned, sitting up slowly in the bed. “What happened?”
“Don’t worry, Sev, you were brilliant. Lucy and the boys aren’t holding the fact that you passed out against you.”
“What happened?” Severus tried to growl, but it sounded more like a snore given the amount of potions still working through his system.
“What, you don’t remember?”
“If I remembered, I wouldn’t have to ask, now would I?” The patient snarled.
“No I suppose not.” Rupert frowned. “What’s the last thing you remember?”
Severus closed his eyes and tried to sort through the numbness to find his most recent memory. “The Gryffs challenged us to a game of quidditch and Malfoy wouldn’t take no for an answer. I was opposite Black. Someone blew a whistle, and then… nothing.”
“Oh, well, that’s not too bad.” Rupert commented.
“Are you sure you want to know? After all, when you have to tell your mother it would be better to plead ignorance of the whole thing. Passing out gives you a good alibi.”
“Why would I tell my mother?”
“I don’t know; maybe because, if she finds out you got hurt she’ll send us another care package?” Rupert smiled at the evil glare his step-brother was sending in his direction. “Or, maybe because she’ll undoubtedly find out from one of the other mothers, and if she hears from them first, she’ll be even angrier.”
“I was right the first time.”
“I’m in hell.”
“Nah, it’s not that bad.” Rupert shrugged. “Besides, if you spin it right, you can place all the blame on Black.”
“Well, he hit the bludger that hit your broom at the same time
McGonagall broke the game up. If he had stopped when McGonagall whistled, you’d be serving detention with the rest of us.”
“You got detention?”
“Not exactly,” Rupert rolled his eyes, “Just the rest of the guys.”
“Well, I was supposed to be the seeker, right?”
“So when I spotted McGonagall, I gave Malfoy the signal and hid in the Hufflepuff stand until she had handed out detentions and brought you here.”
“What, like you wouldn’t have done the same thing? In all fairness, I did signal Malfoy.”
“Of course I wouldn’t have gotten caught if I could avoid it. I’m just saying, that was sneaky of you.”
“Thanks.” Rupert shrugged. “Anyway, Lucy and the boys are polishing the trophy room while the Gryffs are scrubbing out the greenhouses. That leaves me to make sure you’re not dead.”
“Well, I’m not dead, so you can leave.”
“Right, like I’m going to set foot in the dorm before Lestrange has had a chance to simmer down. He’s crazy one.”
“That’s my cousin you’re talking about.”
“Aren’t they all?” Severus blindly reached for any object on the bed side table. Finding a spoon, he hurled it at his brother. Rupert ducked before it could hit him, and watched it bounce along the stone floor. “Great, you’re going to signal Pomphrey.” Rupert rolled his eyes. “Anyway, if you want, I can write a letter to your mother explaining what happened.”
“Why would I trust you with that?”
“Well, it certainly gives more credibility to the story that Black smashed your broom and knocked you out, if you’re not actually writing the letter, what with being passed out and all.”
“I guess. Wait, what am I saying? No, don’t write anything to my mother!”
“I just thought…”
“Well, don’t.” Severus scowled. “Why don’t you write your father instead?”
“Oh, you’re kidding, right? Tell my father? Are you mad? I’m sure he’ll be so thrilled to hear that our house skived off Friday study hall just to challenge our rival house to a game on flying broomsticks. As if that’s not bad enough, you know he’ll blame me for you getting hurt even though I wasn’t on that end of the field. He always blames me for your screw ups.”
“He does not!”
“He does so! What about that time you got stuck in the tree last summer?”
“Well, it was your accidental magic that put me there.”
“Or what about the time you nearly drowned at the beach during their honeymoon?”
“That was your fault too, you said it was safe.”
“You weren’t supposed to listen to me. There were no-boating signs up all over the place!”
“It was your fault! How was I supposed to know the boats weren’t charmed to stay upright? Your father told you to make sure I knew the differences with muggle things.”
“Like I knew what that meant then? I had to spend the rest of the trip in the hotel suite when it was you who acted like an idiot.”
“You deserved it.”
“Yeah, like you deserve being stuck in the infirmary now. I should write your mother and tell her it was all your idea instead of Malfoy’s.”
“Mr. Giles! Mr. Snape!” Pomphrey’s shrill voice interrupted the argument. “This is a place of rest and healing. I will not have you two yelling like banshees at each other.”
“Sorry Madam Pomphrey.” The boys chorused apologetically.
“Now, Mr. Giles, I told you to fetch me when Mr. Snape woke up.”
“Right, um, he’s awake.” Rupert offered weakly.
“Yes I can see that.” The mediwitch answered dryly. “Now, please report to Professor Dumbledore that Mr. Snape is awake, so that he can alert your mother.”
“Yes ma’am.” Rupert gave Severus a wicked wink, and skipped out of the infirmary towards the headmaster’s office.
“May I be released now?” Severus watched his brother leave in alarm, not sure what Rupert was planning, but knowing it would probably get him in trouble.
“Goodness, child, on top of your scratches and bruises, you broke your leg. You can’t just expect that to heal in an hour. You’re going to be in here at least overnight to get that healed.” She tsked.
“But, Madame Pomphrey…” Severus glanced anxiously in the direction Rupert left. He couldn’t let his step-brother have a whole day advantage at whatever trick he had in mind.
“I said no. You’re going to stay in that bed for at least another day.”
“If you keep that up, you’ll agitate the spells and it’ll be two days.” Madame Pomphrey watched with amusement as Severus’ face screwed into a scowl; she could almost see the smoke of fury pouring out of the boy’s ears. “Don’t worry, Mr. Snape, if you don’t move too much, your leg will be healed in time for you to attend your classes on Monday.” The boy rolled his eyes. “And I’m sure Mr. Giles and your housemates will be willing to bring your homework by so that you’ll be all caught up. Now let me take a look at you.”