Snacks and Letters - Part 93 - 1

Author: [info]sionna_raven and [info]valkyriekat
Title: Snacks and Letters Part 93 -1
Word CountL 2928

 

~Sirius~

I'm heading to my rooms. I really want to get rid of the soiled robes and take a hot shower. It's strange that Severus wastes his time drawing a picture of me reading. Reading? I wonder, if he made caricatures of me hexing people or being hexed by him in the past. That's what I would have expected. We would have done such drawings of Snivellus rolling on the floor from a well aimed curse, if any of us had the talent. We would have shown them to everyone, having a good laugh.

If he did, he hasn't kept them. Who keeps such rubbish for twenty years?

We both did. Kept a lot of rubbish from our school years. For good or bad we never let go.


Lost in thought I wander the corridors and hear shouts, see flashes from behind a corner. As a teacher I'm supposed to check.


Students are standing in the corridor. Two are leaning against opposite walls, more sitting or lying than standing. Two others with their wands out glare at each other. The usual audience is watching and chattering about what happened.

One is checking the spell damage on his classmate.

“We should get him to the hospital wing now. I can't figure out what hit him.”


“The damn Slytherin used a dark hex...”


“Yours wasn't any better.”


They fall silent at my sight. No wonder they don't know how to lift the spells. By the look of it different hexes have collided and created rather random effects on the casters. They all start shouting, blaming the other side to have started the fight and used illegal magic. I should get them back on their feet and send them to Poppy, but I'm tempted to settle that myself and prove to Severus that I know my subject. Inapt attempts in Transfiguration cause really nasty effects. It's better you let the spell hit and undo the changes afterwards. After years of James trying to teach Peter the basics I should know. I return the disfigured legs, hands and ears to normal.

Then I pick the student who has shown a bit of reason by suggesting to go to Poppy.


“Tell me what happened.”


“Thatcher and Wakefield insulted each other's families. They always do. ...and then they tried to hex each other. Jenkins and Rothnie have cast counter spells..., “ the boy shrugs pointing at the results.

Great! What did Neville say? They know how to point their wands, but have no idea of the theory. The two at the walls, Thatcher and Wakefield I suppose, pull themselves up and rub the parts of their bodies which made contact with the stone walls and tiled floors. Next time their friends better cast cushioning charms.


“Mr. Wakefield, Jenkins, Thatcher and Rothnie follow me to my office. Don't you others have better things to do on the last days of the holidays than standing in a cold corridor?”


Jenkins and Thatcher exchange looks and follow, not too worried. Jenkins and Rothnie trot at the back.

We enter my office and I conjure additional chairs to seat them all. The Slytherins whisper.


“Black isn't a real teacher, yet. Term only starts in a week. He can't give us detentions or take house points.”


You can ask your Head of House to discuss the matter with Professor Snape, if you like, Mr Rothnie.” I say in the most friendly voice. The boy gulps and his friend gives him a nudge to shut him up. The two Gryffindors grin. Not for much longer as far as I'm concerned. I actually have a very different idea of detention than sending them to help Filch scrub floors. I remember their names from Neville's notes. He listed them as common troublemakers, 4th year, mostly harmless, but they get out of bounds every once in a while. They want to duel? Let's see, if I can make a lesson out of that.

But first things first, I seen Kreacher's ears flapping in the corner behind the bookshelves.


Kreacher, four Butterbeer and a plate of biscuits, please.”


It works, now they're really nervous. Kreacher carries out my order and disappears on a wink. The boys stare at the bottles in their hands and don't move. I push the plate with the biscuits towards them leaving them no choice. They slowly take one each and nibble nervously. Then they smile shyly. Kreacher brought some of his own.


I suppose you're as interested in scrubbing as I was at your age. If you agree, you can assist me instead of Mr Filch. Next 4th year Defence class is on Monday morning. I want you to take notes of all the spells cast, what they were supposed to do and why they went wrong. Mr Jenkins and Mr Rothnie will make suggestions for blocking and protection spells which could have worked and you will explain in detail the counter and healing magic necessary to undo the damage. I don't expect written essays. You will explain it to your class mates and show them how to duel properly. I'll give you 20 minutes of the lesson and each of you can earn house points.”


They look surprised and wary. Have I really say what they think I've said?


You mean I can hex Wakefield in front of class and get house points for doing it?” asks Thatcher.


You wish...,” hisses Wakefield.


Basically yes, but Mr Wakefield will of course do the same and you both better know your healing spells and hope that Mr Jenkins and Mr Rothnie improve their protective spell work. It's 10 points each – maybe more - for a perfect performance and correct analysis or none at all. Convince me that you can do more than misfiring hexes in the corridor.”


That's impossible without practising,” Rothnie protests showing a remarkable insight. “I couldn't hear Jenkins' spell before it collided with mine.”


Then I suggest you ask him which spell he used. It's called talking. From what I've heard an old method for successful teamwork.”


You can't expect us to ….. work.... with THEM!” They all cry out.


Great! You have reached a first agreement. It gets easier next time. I'll expect you to be back here tomorrow afternoon at two o'clock with notes on the magic and a few ideas what you can do in class. Take another biscuit on the way. Goodbye.”


They're too shocked to complain, but take Kreacher's biscuits before they leave.


You're mad, Sirius. You know you are. I want a protective charm on my canvas, when they start practising.”


You'll get one, Reggie. Promised. You can help me tomorrow, if you like. It will be fun.”


I'm much more interested in the fun you'll have explaining that to Severus.”


Hmmhm.... I don't think Severus will object. He wants them to learn practical magic and its consequences. That's what I'm trying to achieve. The Slytherins will cooperate, because they took the bait with the house points and the Gryffindors won't let them look good at their expense.



~Severus~


Regulus comes bursting into my office. Evidently he sprinted because it takes a bit for a fifteen year old Seeker to pant that much. Behind him are two monks with self-transcribing quills and parchment. I suspect Regulus of wanting to quote me, do I? I am correct. When I tell the muttering monks to leave, Regulus looks pouty.


“Sev. Just wanted to see if you and Sirius actually agreed on something real. And document it. For real. There must be some record made of how long good friends can dislike each other.”


We agree that you're an utter pain. We agree that he teaches here, for me. We agreed without much forethought of tackling those who wish they were Death Eaters while trying to give closure to hundreds of people. What type of nonsense...”


He just gave four students practical detentions.”


“As long as he turns them upright and lets them down come the week's end,”
I say with my nastiest smile. But my curiosity is piqued.


What did they do? What does he have planned and whose house are they in? The names of the miscreants?” I ask.


Thatcher, Wakefield, Rothnie, Jenkins. Duelling, and the houses are ours, and Gryffindor. They're pathetic at defence and worse at attack. Just like the Deputy Headmaster warned Sirius. He wants them to make a presentation on how to work the spells they duelled with properly and which healing spells to use. But wait...he wants them to co-operate in learning which spells hit who and discuss it and do a demonstration in class, with the idea of earning house points as an added bonus. Not just a presentation for him.” Regulus is smiling, or perhaps he's better at smirking than I thought.


Slughorn might find that unusually equitable. I have no problem with that myself.” I shrug. My hair brushes my shoulders. Annoying, but I won't cut it like a common Roman soldier or a numbskull Muggle.


“I come this far this quickly and you say it's equitable?” Regulus had recovered from his rapid travel and sounds put out.


Slughorn uses that term, It doesn't occur often in my day to day speech. Sirius is right, you are a little idiot. Idiocy is a Black family trait.”


Tell Andromeda that. She'd love to get a chance to hex someone. Something to do after all that metamorphagus style childcare. She's on her toes.”


I have no problem with Sirius' choice of discipline.” I give a twisted smile at the thought of Andromeda. She would hex me. Then she would perform faultless counter-hexes. She always had a gift and at more than magic. Changing back to the first topic. “I agree and will back him should it be necessary. I was looking – before you interrupted – at the sketchbook I have had for so long. Where you originated, or your image. You know it.”


I know it well. It's been a long time since I've visited the funny ones.”


Funny? Caricatures and revenge, all of them but you and a few other Death Eaters. I sketched such a horrible Lucius. Ass kissing without even being aware of it. Admiration, it is sometimes called around saner people.” I smirk and Regulus looks reminiscent.


I wanted to be like Lucius from my first ever year, from before I was about to be Sorted. Whatever he said to do with Slytherin I wanted to imitate, be exactly what he told me I should be,” Reg says.


Some do whether they have the qualities or not.” My eyes narrow but my lips smile. I can tell my eyes are glittering. “Sirius had the qualities but for the wrong allegiance.”


No doubt that we have the qualities,” I hear Regulus from a distance. I am remembering the day I was Sorted.


Severus! Sev! The planets call!” I hear him distantly, lost in thought. “Next time...” Regulus clears his throat loudly, “...you go off to your own little world would you mind taking us along?”


I jerk away from the sound of the portrait, then realize I am using a child's defences around a friend. I cast about for something else to talk about, unnerved. Old companions have me acting old ways, not necessarily a good thing.


Want to see the pictures of Sirius that survived? The 'caricatures and revenge' ones? The tamest is the reading one. I thought he was concealing smut with his Transfiguration text, now I think he was hiding the text behind the smut...”


You bet, about the magazine. I remember some of these,” Regulus croons as I flip the pages of the sketchbook in front of him. He cackles and points like a young boy. “I remember that one!”


The sketch shows Sirius pawing at his eyes, his hair smoking slowly from a very controlled Incendio, and me looking not daggers but rather hatchets at him, feeling my own hair. The oldest tale in the Snape library. Getting called greasy git.


Oh, I remember too. Sirius had just used Scourgify on my hair “for the benefit of the public good” but trying to add in something else and it fell flat. When are they going to teach real spell theory in this school? With me as headmaster, it should have happened yesterday, but plans and reality often collide unpleasantly.


To start on Sirius, he should have known that magic lessens across space, and immediate magic ought to be cast less obviously, and that magic is warped by time or enhanced by it, according to the preferences, intention and skill of the caster, and if he had paused a few seconds less he may have won that duel.”


Regulus laughs and snorts with glee. “And in this case, know how the spell you use is pronounced! Every time. Usually he did his homework. He tried the same curse as you used, the Conjunctivitis Curse. You sure had him there... that was fast spell work.”


I rather wondered what the second spell was. I had rather itchy eyes for a week and ended up seeing Madam Pomfrey behind the quad's backs. But he just proved Scourgify has no effect on my hair other than to dampen it. It is what it is and I don't bother to try more than one shower a day.”


You started on the hair, not me...” Regulus winks and I have a hard time concealing the frustration I feel with him, next he will be asking me if Lily loved me at all, in the slightest, or the tiniest bit and I will swallow the answer and hex him to shreds. I think about my doe and its differences and think that it isn't quite as painful as usual. Regulus? He's a portrait of a boy and a Black and is nearly entitled to act like dunderhead. But I have never had patience with young people. People in general. But I'm good at putting them to proper use, setting a task and making sure they do what they say.


I'm thinking and Regulus is clearing his throat again.


Like a Muggle trying to fly, talking to you without you wandering off...” Regulus looks cross. “Come on Severus, let's see the next sketch.”


This one I want to share with Sirius.” I have that glitter-eyed look again.


You're kidding. These pictures? He'll jinx you.” Regulus doesn't know his own brother. When did he have a chance to know him without interference? Not since he was ten years old. I feel a warning but I have to show Sirius this. I speak. “Let him try. He won't jinx me. Or hex or curse me. Not when he sees this one.”


Give me a preview?” Reg wears a look of cunning and forethought.


You're too busy running errands for Sirius to appreciate this,” I sneer. Unnecessary but it adds to my mood and he deserves it for unasked questions.


His reaction is both immediate and predictable.


“What? Bugger off – I'm your friend and a fellow Slytherin. And he doesn't tell me what to do. I came here of my own accord. Again, bugger off.”
He looks incredibly pouty. I can turn this into a search for Sirius that may be a good end to the day. I skipped dinner again. That happens. It's seven in the evening. He may even be heading this way.


Fine, I'll show you, Reg. But you have to promise to fetch Sirius some time tonight and bring him here to look at the sketchbook.”


All right. But just so as you know, I'm not Sirius' servant.” Regulus is in the portrait of Phineas Nigellus, who remains stubbornly asleep. Just as well.


“Yes. Here we go.”
I open the book and there is a caption on this picture. A tall teen with long hair with his wand half way down from the accepted combative position. His eyes look blank, and he has evidently been hit by a Bogey Hex. This is all the more humorous as I believe that was one of his own invented spells. I was not the only creative mastermind at Hogwarts. He has the characteristic bat wings fluttering on his greenish, slimy face. But it has altered with the use of another spell, the Hair Thickening Charm. Slimy whiskers, thick greenish eyebrows. Sirius thought it was my fault. Well, the Bat Bogey was my counter-hex and the Charm did not originate with me but was miscast by Pettigrew (who is shocked and anxious and took no credit) and which I deflected and hit Sirius … not on purpose. I meant to aim it at Pettigrew. The round little nobody with his halfway hexes. More dangerous than Sirius in his cringing. Fearful people are the ones you really have to watch for.


“Sirius won't like to see that. Not one bit.”


“Want to bet? Oh, wait... portraits have no Galleons. What a shock for a rich pureblood to be eternally broke.
” I grin nastily at him and examine the cuff links of the robes I just changed. Pristine.


I bet Sirius gets really ticked.” Regulus snarls at me after my attempt at humour.


I bet he laughs. It will be a sign of how much water is under the bridge. Fetch him for me, though you are not my servant.”


I can't wait to see you smeared across your desk by my brother.” Regulus sounds proud of Sirius' hexing ability. We'll see. He turns from his borrowed portrait and is gone. Phineas seems to snigger in his sleep.


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October 2013

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