Title: A Wizards’ Agreement
Fandoms : HP/BTVS crossover
Pairing: none. SS/RG friendship
Summary: Stories are exchanged and a deal is made. It could become even more useful later.
Timeline: Pre-series for BTVS and Marauders‘era for HP (1971)
Disclaimer: I’m merely playing with two ‘verses that aren’t mine.
Note: It can be read as a stand-alone. However, I know how I want to continue this, with Giles and Snape meeting again in Hogwarts after the end of both series. By the way, anyone wants to beta this puppy?
They met again the next day, after class, in the same spot in the library. They hadn’t said anything to each other but it just happened. They studied for some time then went for a walk outside before curfew. Curiously, they didn’t need to talk much. Severus thought it might be a reaction to their first meeting, when both had talked more than they were clearly used to. The pattern was set and it soon became a daily habit.
Severus learned that Rupert greatly missed one thing from the Muggle world and that it was music. He talked to Severus about his records, about his guitar, about his singing- and his eyes were shining so much that Severus only saw then how sad and hollow they usually were. Severus expressed his love for Potions, for the way fumes simmered above the cauldron and how ingredients surprisingly reacted when mixed together. They talked about books and were happy to discover how they both loved them. Rupert particularly had a fondness for myths and fairytales and loved to speak about them at great length.
Rupert would come to see Severus when he was in the Hospital wing thanks to the boys who were calling themselves the Marauders now, even though Lily had meant that as an insult. The bullies were careful to go after Severus only when he was alone and to disappear quickly after their assaults. Severus could never prove it was them and preferred not to say anything to Rupert, knowing that the older boy would still guess what had happened.
In turn, Severus was there when Rupert awoke from a spell which had gone spectacularly awry in duelling club and had temporarily blinded him. Rupert’s anguished shouts remained on Severus’ mind for a long time.
They continued at this pace until the Christmas holidays. However, the week before the holiday,s Severus knew something was wrong. Rupert seemed more on the edge and looked more tired and anxious than ever. He spent all his time reading, his eyes red from trying to decipher musty and obscure writings. His cheeks became gaunter, his temper more brusque. Still, he wouldn’t say anything and Severus had no intention to pry. He was happily staying at Hogwarts for the holidays and was envisaging these few Marauders-less days with something approaching holy joy. He gave his gifts to Lily –a charmed bracelet- and to Rupert –a book on goblin-made swords- before they departed and was given two wrapped packages in return, which set a new precedent for him.
He didn’t wait Boxing Day to open them. If Lily’s gift was nice –a book about Memory Potions he had wanted to read for a while-, Rupert’s gift was spectacular: it was a Potions Master aid book. It was meant to help the potioneer to visualize the potion he was trying to make, by recreating on paper the effects of the combined ingredients. It was a great way to economise ingredients, minimise risks and help the potioneer to learn how to visualise the making of a potion in his mind only. The spells used to create the book were incredibly difficult and Rupert would have paid a small fortune to find one. It added again information on Severus’ friend: he was rich or Severus was considered a precious friend, or both. In the privacy of his empty room, Severus smiled.
Waiting at the entrance door, he had been eager to welcome Lily and Rupert back. Lily had thanked him warmly for the bracelet before going to rest a bit in the tower, the Marauders were all sick due to a chocolate indigestion and were looking miserable, but he wasn’t enjoying the moment as much as he should have been; something didn’t feel right. It took him a few moments to understand that Rupert hadn’t come back with the others.
Rupert was missing.
He hadn’t given him his address, so Severus couldn’t even send him an owl. Luckily, he had Charms first things in the morning and Professor Flitwick might be kind enough to answer Severus. However, the professor, nice as he was, wasn’t much help. He only said that “young Rupert had a bit of a mishap at home” and would be back at school soon.
It would however be a week before Rupert reappeared.
They were at dinner in the Great Hall when it happened. The sounds of the doors opening made everyone turn towards the noise. Some students gasped. Rupert was standing there, alone. His face looked whiter than usual and his eyes were downcast. Four red lines marred his right cheek. He was surprisingly sporting a Muggle cast on his right wrist and Severus could hear his housemates wondering what it was. Severus was more interested by the fact that Rupert’s injury could not be healed by magical remedies.
“Hey, Gutter Giles struck again! He’s even looking more insane than usual. Seems that your last victim wasn’t helpless this time, hey Gutter!”
Severus didn’t recognize the hateful voice; but it was enough to start the sniggering and the whispering. Rupert tensed even more and started playing angrily with his cuff- the one concealing his wand, Severus knew, and maybe even his dagger if he had only one good hand.
“Silence, thundered the headmaster’s voice. Mr. Giles, please go sit at your table.”
Rupert nodded and started to walk, limping. He was nearly done when a student at the Gryffindor table said something as he walked by. Severus could not have predicted what happened next, but he would have said he was not at all surprised. He was apparently the only one.
Rupert grabbed the boy by his collar before throwing him on the floor, he then straddled him and started to pummel him with his good hand. Severus absently noted that Rupert was remarkably fierce and silent as pandemonium broke into the Great Hall. Some friends of Human Bloody Pulp tried to reach Rupert but were thrown away. Accidental magic, perhaps? It seemed to Severus that Rupert’s magic was entirely out of control. The headmaster also realised that as he shouted not to use magic on Rupert. Now, Severus didn’t care about the Gryff that had been stupid enough to anger Rupert as it was clear he wasn’t in the best state of mind, but he was concerned about his friend and he didn’t want him expelled. He rose from his seat and walked near the scene. His friend was still beating the student but his punches weren’t very strong; Severus could also see he was shivering.
Time to be a Slytherin. He turned towards the headmaster.
“Sir, Rupert is my friend. If I succeed in calming him down, can you not expel him?”
“Albus, surely, you’re not going to accept, he’s trying to kill one of my students!”
“Calm down, Minerva. We both know there is nothing we can do here until Mr. Giles’ magic exhausts itself. Mr. Snape may as well try. I accept your conditions, Mr. Snape. However. Try to get him out of here. There is an empty classroom first door on the left by this exit. However, there will be punishment later for M. Giles.”
“I understand, sir. Thank you, sir.”
Severus steeled himself and called in his mind all the good things he could about Rupert- his wonderful gift of course, his delight when they decided to be friends, the contentment he had felt about the time they spent together- and he walked towards his friend until he stood in front of him. His first idea was correct; Rupert’s magic had let him pass because he wasn’t threatening him. He knelt down and started talking.
“Rupert, it’s me Severus. I don’t know what the hell you think you’re beating up here but I’m sure it’s not supposed to be a student, even one as daft as your new punchbag. You’re making a scene here and, on the scale of idiocy, you’ve officially reached Potter and Black’s level. Rupert, it ends now. I’m going to stand up, grab your shoulder and get you away from this mess. Are we clear? Rupert, answer me!”
Rupert had stopped beating the boy now, but he still wasn’t looking at Severus. He was muttering something and Severus leaned near him to hear the mumbled words.
Bloody wonderful, Rupert was breaking down in front of the entire school. At least, they were already all thinking that he was insane.
“What the? I already said that if you persist in the idea of being a bloody psychopath, you could at least have some good wordplay and reference, Rupert, like bloody Ripper!”
Rupert’ s eyes were bloodshot and dangerously brilliant. Severus tried not to shudder at the idea that his friend only responded to a serial killer’s nickname -19th century killer maybe but still.
“Yes, Rupert –oh, hell- Ripper, it’s Severus. I’m going to get you away from here, all right?”
“Where is here?”
Merlin helped him. It was worse than trying to calm down his old man at the pub. At least, Rupert wasn’t plastered.
“Here doesn’t matter. I’m going to take your arm, slowly, and you will follow me. Is that clear? All right, let’s go.”
The hall was curiously silent as they went. Severus’ eyes remained on Rupert, even though he could feel movement behind him, where the student was lying, moaning. They finally reached the empty classroom. Severus ordered Rupert to sit, locked the door with his wand and spelled the room soundproof. The atmosphere was lighter; Rupert had gotten hold of his magic. Good, because Severus was angry as he had never been. He walked in front of Rupert, took a deep breath and started to shout.
“Are you mental? Are you trying to get yourself expelled?”
“Yes, Severus, your friend, who just saved your crazy arse, you idiot!”
“What happened? You just decided that Gryff blood was to be the new floor decoration in the Great Hall.”
“Oh god, what have I done?”
“Apparently, you decided to spend your holidays in such a nice way that you came back seriously disturbed.”
Severus took a chair and sat near Rupert, willing his temper to calm down. After all, Rupert still seemed to be in a sort of daze.
“Rupert, what happened? You look dead on your feet, ill and uncontrollable.”
“I cannot tell you. I’m forbidden to tell anyone.”
“If you’re still at Hogwarts, it’s thanks to me, mate. You owe me, Rupert. I swear I’ll not tell anyone. What. The. Bloody. Hell. Happened?”
Severus’ voice had become colder and colder. The last words were only whispered, like Rupert had done with Potter months ago. Severus was impressed to notice that his voice had become frightening. He was even more surprised when Rupert started to talk.
“I was seven when my father sadly realised I was one of them. He had hoped, you know, that perhaps... perhaps his children would be free, that my mother’s magical influence would be strong enough to erase his line. He would not tell me of my destiny until I was ten years old, but that didn’t mean that my childhood wasn’t over. Since I was seven, I’ve been training. I know how to fight, to hide, to research and to find. I’ve learned many languages, even dead ones, and I can find a book on any subject in any library in ten seconds. I know how to withstand torture and to administer it. I can kill in so many ways that in most cases, I could forget about hiding the body- which I also can do with my eyes closed. I can identify demons and spirits and call upon them if I need to. I’m a tool for a bunch of old men, who might send me far away to battle, kill and be killed with her. And since I’m chosen, I’ll love her and be happy to die for her, because that’s why I’m destined to do. She’s not even born and I already love her. And I don’t want to!”
Rupert’s monologue had been dispassionate and bland, until the end when the words started to come faster and faster until his last shout. He was looking at Severus with desperate eyes. In Severus’ head, the dots were finally connecting.
“Fuck. It’s like one of those stories you told me about? The only girl in the world, etc.? It wasn’t a fairytale?”
“You’re the bleeding guardian of the girl?”
“I’m destined to be her Watcher, yes.”
“What are you doing in Hogwarts then? In your story, the guys had a special school.”
“I had begun my training at the Academy when the letter arrived. The old men nearly had a collective stroke in excitement. A Giles boy with the Watcher Calling, the power of a sorcerer and the magic of a wizard? I could be their greatest tool. They agreed to let me go to Hogwarts, but I’ve got lessons every week from a Council teacher and I spend all of my holidays at the Academy. Next year, it will only be them until Oxford and the pursuit of my studies. Four more years… I don’t know how I will stand it.”
“You’ve already done ten years, you can do it.”
“I was a child. They are not so lenient anymore.”
Rupert showed his wrist.
“The days had been hard. I have learned, fought and lost a few classmates in the practical exercises. I just wanted to play a little bit. I no longer own a guitar or any records, but I’ve got a broken wrist. The cast is spelled: it will stay broken until the end of my punishment. I cannot do it anymore, Severus. They even took my music and it was the only thing they had let me keep since they got their hands on me.”
Severus didn’t like how Rupert’s eyes hovered between anger and despair. Right now, his friend was looking like he would kill his keepers or top himself, or maybe both at the same time. Severus would not allow it. He had an idea that could work if they planned it carefully.
Rupert suddenly stood up and kicked everything he could near him, speaking at the same time.
“The old men, they’re not even chosen. They take us and they mould us and they kill us. Three of us were killed last week in training because they couldn’t bother to check their sources. And they blamed us!”
Severus grabbed his friend by the arm. He had to calm Rupert down quickly, because, let’s face it, he was too small and inexperienced to confront an enraged man, much bigger and powerful than him. Rupert looked at him and Severus could see the struggle in his friend, who tried to focus with difficulty. Finally, his eyes regained their usual colour instead of the dark green Severus had been seeing too much this evening. He couldn’t let Rupert continue like this. His friend was a bundle of nerves and anger, heading to some very dark place. Severus could recognise the signs well enough.
“I say, screw destiny. You can run away, Rupert. Get the hell away from these bastards. Go to London, hide yourself in the crowds and disappear in the underworld.”
“London? Severus, I’ve been locked up since I was a small child. I’m only authorized to go out to kill monsters. I know nothing about the world outside. For God’s sake, my mother was the one buying my records for me!”
“I do.” Severus had fled to London one or two years ago, travelling hidden in buses and trains, his accidental magic helping him to go unnoticed. His career as a runaway child had only lasted two weeks, but he remembered it well.
“I can give you pointers and tips, explain to you how to dress, help you to change the way you talk. You’re going to become someone else entirely. You’re going to be a tough bastard, cocky and proud, quick to insult anyone and even quicker to brawl and knife. you, Rupert, you really are going to become the Ripper, which is even too ironic for me. We’ve got until the end of the term, because you need time to save money, learn a lot and still pass your NEWT. Yes, you have to, it’s the only way they’re going to end the Underage Spell on you.”
“Someone has been doing research for himself.”
“A bit.” Severus smirked at Rupert and was glad to see him smile back, even if it was only a small bitter twitch. He could see that Rupert was thinking about his idea and he remained silent. His friend finally nodded.
‘All right, I will play along. If I go back there, I will be dead in a year. But I won’t just accept your proposition; I want to do something in return. If you agree, I will teach you to fight, Severus. You’ll be alone next year and they’re going to be after you with a vengeance. I can teach you to be proficient in magical and Muggle fight. Furthermore, I’ve been in the dueling club since third-year and I can teach you all my tricks.”
“I accept your terms. Can I ask for something else? If I’m going to teach you how to lose the posh accent, could I learn it from you? I hate the way I talk; I want to sound more like you.”
“Of course. I think that we have reached an agreement, don’t you think Mr. Snape?”
“We’re goin’ to cut you loose on the world, Ripper, and let you set it on fire.”