1 -- Wood: 11 years old
The bells over the door chimed, and the old elf smiled, setting aside his book and teacup with a smile. Ahh, another wandless little hand. he smiled to himself and made his way to his shop's common area. Thought this year's crop had all come through by now.
A little boy stood in the window, peering out at the Diagon Alley traffic with both hands shoved into his pocket. Brown hair, brown suit, brown shoes, all carefully proper, and looking about as comfortable as a winding sheet on the reedy little boy. A boy like that one wanted leather kecks and bare feet and a vest of tough canvas that adventures wouldn't stain, not a miniature copy of the suit he would be expected to wear as an adult. Here was a boy separated from librarian-hood by only a decade or so, if appearances were anything to go by. His Hogwarts robes would probably look rather more relaxed, in fact.
He shook his head sadly as a broomstick zipped up the street and the boy craned his head to watch. "Welcome lad," he smiled, coming around the counter, "are you waiting for your parents?"
The boy whirled, goggled, then recovered himself and banished the startlement from his lively hazel eyes. "Er. They're at Gringotts, sir." he managed at last, "I'm meant to come and get my wand out of the way while they do."
Get it out of the way? Olivander raised an eyebrow and snorted. The single most important tool any wizard ever lays his hand to? Why you impudent little soon-to-be-Ravenclaw! Nothing worth your time if it's not read from a book and an inch-thick with dust, is it? Well, we shall see if we cannot search out a bit of that Slytherin or Gryffindor you're hiding under that tweed! Then the elf smiled widely at the little boy and straightened. "Very well, young master...?"
"Giles, Sir; Rupert Giles." And Olivander knew him then. Giles, son of the Watchers Council Gileses -- a family which had hunted down and destroyed more than one of Olivander's kind when they became a bit too unseeligh for human tastes. Giles, scion of nonsense-less monster hunting folk with dreadfully boring adherence to the rules of engagement, cricket, and High Tea. Giles, repressed little hellion crammed into a Harris Tweed suit. He almost couldn't help laughing at the brilliant opportunity for mischief fate had just handed him.
Olivander over reached the boy's hand, grasping his wrist in the old style. "Very well then young Mister Giles, I believe I've just the wand for you."
"But I thought --" He turned, found the boy blinking owlishly, "That is, oughtn't I to be testing them, sir? To find which wand is best for me?"
"Oh, but I know which wand wants you, young Master Giles." Olivander smiled widely enough to show the pointed eyeteeth he normally glamoured away. "Rowan wood. Good, stout at the base, and ten inches long. A sturdy wand for a sturdy lad." He set a black laquered box on the counter and lifted off the lid. Inside, the wand lay, pale and cool against the red-satin lining.
The boy's eyes lit up. "Looks like..."
Olivander smirked to hide a laugh. "A stake? Perhaps a bit, but you'll find this bit of wood to be far more deadly in your hands, young Sir. Go on then," he urged, "Give it a try."
The resultant swish and flick sent a galaxy of sparks spiraling across the shop with the deafening rustle of five hundred million bat wings. Hah! Riddled in one! Olivander thought as the last wisps of cold mist unfurled into the shadows.
Silence, then the boy coughed, blinked, and fished his money from his pocket one-handed.
And in equal silence, Olivander received his due, and watched smugly as the only wand he ever made with the fang of a still-living (and still rather annoyed) Vampire inside walked out of his shop in the young boy's tight little fist.
2 -- Water: Hogsmeade: 15 years old.
"I know what you are."
Remus looked up from his textbook, trying not to show the way those words made his heart leap into his throat. The boy -- a fourth year Ravenclaw -- stood in front of his table, looking nervous but determined. His voice was low, and his hand was in his pocket, threat implicit.
Remus, hands unmoving on the table top, gave a smile he didn't feel, and leaned back in the booth so his prefect's badge would catch the light. He could see James and Sirius at the bar, chatting up Elanor Browne while Peter paid for their next round, just like he'd paid for the last three. "Excuse me?" he asked around a mouthful of sawdust, "I didn't quite-"
The boy leaned forward, his corduroy jacket burring as he whispered. "Werewolf. I know. I looked up the symptoms so don't bother to deny it."
Remus didn't. He swallowed back the growl that was threatening to creep out of his throat. The wolf inside him couldn't take form without the spur of the full moon, but it knew when it was threatened.
"Here you are, love," Miss Rosemerta bubbled, setting his new butterbeer in front of him with a wink, "Oh, sorry lad, didn't see you there! What'll you have then?"
The boy didn't look up. "Nothing, thanks ma'am," he said in a closed voice. She frowned, and summoned a glass of ice water from the bar for him anyway. Remus, for the first time ever, had no inclination to watch her arse as she walked away.
"Look, um...Giles," he remembered the kid's name at last, and gave him a calming smile, "I know it's tough for a Ravenclaw to grasp, but you probably don't want to believe everything you read-"
The kid's lip curled, and Remus suddenly remembered where he'd seen him before -- in the library with Snape, head to head over one of the massive potions texts nobody could get down the stairs. "I know," he hissed, "But my uncle's a trapper in Bulgaria, and he taught me a few other ways to reveal dark creatures walking amongst humankind. I'm game for trying them out right now if you are!"
He flicked his eyes around the crowded pub, then kicked one of the chairs away from the table. The kid swallowed hard before sitting down with a flicker of a smile. Remus didn't return it. "What's your game then?"
"They know too, don't they?" He nodded at the billiard's table, where James and Sirius had Peter setting up the balls for another round. "Your mates? I don't rightly see how they couldn't, you all being about each other all times."
"What. Do. You. Want?" Remus let the growl out, fists creaking on either side of his book. The kid's eyes widened at the aural reminder of just what kind of a dark creature he was dealing with, but to his credit, he didn't back down.
"I want them to lay off Snape," he said, thrusting his chin stubbornly. "It's not fair how you treat him, your four to his one. You act as if he's the bloody monster!"
Remus blinked. "Snape? This is about Snape?"
"No," the boy's eyes narrowed. "It's about you, and your friends acting like total Berks!"
"Look, kid, I don't know what he's told you," Remus tried, sipping his butterbeer, "but you're only getting one side of the story here-"
Sirius's raucous laugh drew both their eyes across the room, where a red-faced Pete was trying to swipe butterbeer off Clarence Bulstrode's new green paisley robes. "I see enough to back up what I do hear," the boy replied, "And here's where it stands: You're a prefect, so act like it -- stop them acting like animals!"
"Look, you little-" The boy yanked his fist out of his robes, and thrust it into Remus' face. It didn't have his wand, but instead a mass of wolfsbane flowers. It was all Remus could do not to fall over backward as the smell assaulted his nose like a hammer.
"I have tutoring sessions with Snape twice a week." Giles said once Remus stopped sneezing, "If I see new bruises, if I hear about new pranks, if I see more of ..." he nodded back over his shoulder at Sirius and James, who had finally noticed the conference, and were looking on with suspicion, "that, then the next time Snape starts speculating on what the Golden Gryffindors are hiding, he just might get some more information on the subject!"
And with that, the boy stood, and strode away, white petals drifting behind him as he went.
"Wasn't that Snivellus's little boytoy there, Remus?" James asked loudly. "What did he want?"
And for a long moment, Remus could only look at his friend and growl.
3 -- Fire: Riddle Manor: 17 years old.
"Who comes to ask for entrance?" Lucius intoned from behind his mask, scanning the pair up and then down again. Young, green, fresh out of school and thinking they would rule the world. Well, the tall one in leather was, anyway. Lucius guessed he'd be the applicant. The mousy one behind his shoulder, with the sharp, wary hazel eyes would have been dragged along as much for audience as for support. Which suited the Death Eaters well enough; two were always more promising than one.
Leather straightened, boosting his chin. "Ethan Rayne," he said in a voice redolent with Cheapside upbringing. "I hear you lot's looking for wizards, so me an' Ripper here come to see what you're about." Lucius raised his wand, catching the young tough under his chin, and raising him to his steel-covered toes. The youth's hand twitched toward his pocket, but wisely he thought better of it when Lucius shook his head and plucked the cigarette from his lips.
"And you suppose yourselves to be the sort of wizards we want?" he tsked, and flicked the smelly burning weed out into the street, where a motorcycle leaned against the hedge. "Go home, little boy. Go and play with your muggle machines and your naughty books on sex magick, and leave changing the world to your betters."
He twitched his wand away and turned to close the door. Leather's hand slapped against the wood, all predictable aggravation. Lucius could hardly resist the urge to grin -- oh, they would have fun with this one once they let him bully his way into the trap.
"Look, you poncy old Toff-"
"Ethan, no. Let's just leave."
Ahh, Lucius smiled behind his mask, The mouse speaks.
"No! I'm tired of you wanks thinking just because I didn't go to that posh private school I haven't got my share of tricks!" Leather shoved the door back against the wall and tried to loom over Lucius. "I'm twice the wizard any of you Pigswarts prats are, and I won't be having with this ballocks anymore!"
Lucius cocked his head to the side, as though considering. "Well, perhaps there might be one way you could prove your worth to our Lord..." Mouse tugged on Leather's sleeve, and was ignored. "Meet one of our own in the dueling circle, wizard to wizard. If you comport yourself well, then you'll be given your due regard."
"Right," Leather's eyes glittered, no doubt already laying out his arsenal of dirty tricks as he nodded and stepped inside. "Come on, Ripper."
But Mouse did not -- instead, Lucius found himself drawn in and pinned down by those piercing hazel eyes, combed over and thoroughly assessed. So there was something more to be found inside the Leather tart's cheering section -- something clever, solid and deep, that burned like an ember as the youth's full lips pressed into a frown. Lucius found himself intrigued.
"Your name then, little one?" he asked, stepping out of the doorway and waving an ironically formal invitation to the hesitant youth.
Who still did not enter. "Giles," he said, and dropped his hand into his pocket.
Lucius managed not to smile. So this would be how the young guttersnipe had heard of the Dark Lord's followers. Giles was a pureblood name with quite a tradition behind it, just the sort of youth his Lord wanted in his following, whereas Rayne was a nobody, fit for nothing more than an example.
"Shift it, Ripper!" Leather growled, striding off down the hall, where the rest of the robed acolytes waited for the evening's entertainment. He clearly expected an evening of decadence and debautchery, and had no clue that his presence would be the primary contribution to that very thing. Lucius spared the arrogant youth a single glancing smirk, watching the denim move over his compact arse, and imagining those legs pinned wide, that smirking mouth bruised and gasping for air.
"Close the door, Death Eater," his Master's voice rang through the hall, equal measures of impatience and ire. Lucius eyed the boy on the doorstep with no small regret, imagining that those hazel eyes would brighten prettily under tears, and the long fingered hands would have clever uses as well. Ah well. Another time, perhaps.
4 -- Earth: Dumbledore's Office: 39 years old.
"It comes to this, Albus; I will not stand for you appointing yet another unsuitable hack into that position! I am the best duelist here, not to mention the one with the most experience in the Dark Arts..." Severus glanced up and remembered to add "and how to combat them. That position ought to be mine!"
"Now, Severus be reasonable," Albus worried a peppermint in his teeth, as much to settle his grumbling ulcer as for the sweet itself, "Voldemort will not take kindly to the idea of you teaching this new crop of young minds how best to resist him, will he?"
"Voldemort be hanged!" Severus banged his fist on Albus' desk, "I'll tell him I'm leaving holes, and he'll believe me, just... How can you appoint a bloody Watcher into MY position, Albus? We're fighting Death Eaters, not vampires!"
"And yet the two seem to use remarkably similar, if not identical magics, don't they? Albus mused, concealing his annoyance at the same old argument behind an absent minded stare. "I do believe that the Watcher's Council has made great strides in the Defenses over the years, Severus, and that the Council is amenable to allowing this young Watcher to share some of those advances with us is quite unprecedented, really. Refusing the kindness would hardly be a strategically sound move now, would it?"
Severus bared his teeth. "And what's to stop him haring off after the first promising young bint who knows her way 'round a pointed stick then?" he snarled in Albus' face, making the Headmaster wish yet again that he could be more persuasive with those mints. "You mark my words; if the Council has sent him here, it's because they fancy a Witch for their next Slayer!"
"I don't believe it's an appointed position, dear boy," Albus sighed, leaned his chair back and steepled his fingers before him. "And anyway, Collinsworth has assured me that the current Slayer is healthy and stable in California, with the next two in line for the summons also in the U.S. There would have to be quite a large disaster before any British girl would find herself Called to slay. Still, as you do point out, there is a small conflict of interest..."
"Of course there is!"
"Well then I suppose I'll just have to ask young Professor Giles how he feels about teaching Potions then." Albus pretended not to notice how all the blood first drained from Severus' face, then rushed back into it. Check, dear boy, he thought.
"Indeed. Since you will be occupied with your new curriculum, I shall be needing another instructor to cover that most valuable of subjects." He looked over his glasses, smiling only with his eyes. "And I do recall that you tutored Mr. Giles in potions personally when you were both students, do I not?"
"But -- That was because he was bloody well HOPELESS in Potions!" Severus sputtered, erupting from his chair, "Albus, you can't possibly mean to hand my classes, my laboratory over to that-- that -- Surely there could be someone else?"
"I haven't a choice, dear boy," Albus allowed himself a smile as Severus sank down once again. "All the CV's I have received were in answer to my call for a Defense teacher. With term due to start in less than a week, there is no time to put out a call for Potions Masters. Mr Giles is the only applicant who has any Potions qualifications whatsoever."
"No, don't be silly, Severus," Albus shook his head. "You couldn't possibly manage both classes, your duties as Head of Slytherin House, and the demands of Voldemort and the Order. Why you'd have to give up detentions altogether, wouldn't you?" He offered the dish of peppermints again, and won a hateful glower for his troubles.
"You're enjoying this, aren't you?" Severus ground, finally accepting one of the candies.
Albus, knowing a surrender when he saw one, declined to comment, and instead brought up the subject of Severus' yearly raise by way of a peace offering.
5 -- Air: The Great Hall: 41 years old.
He'd known it could happen. The council had made it plain from the day he'd accepted Dumbledore's offer; something had been brewing. Of course something was always brewing, but this time it seemed rather larger, rather farther reaching than a lone Armageddonist or would-be-dominator of the world.
Which meant, of course, that there was absolutely no proof whatsoever to support his fears. Which meant that his lover mocked him mercilessly for sitting up late nights, pouring over endless books, then sulked when he failed to be needled into a fight. Rupert let Severus pout, and then made up the missing argument to him by taking an unannounced trip to the Council Library in London one Saturday, and not asking if there was anything he could pick up while he was there. The make-up sex was almost as blistering as the row had been, but neither really did much to alleviate the uneasy feeling in Rupert's gut -- the dread that he was meant to be doing something very important somewhere very far away. So in desperation he turned to outside sources to aid his research.
Their next fight involved accusations of infidelity with Madame Pince, or possibly Professor Trelawney, and that one was so dreadful that Rupert had no choice but to let Severus into his confidence. Which turned out only to cause an even bigger scene.
However, if there was one thing the brooding, temperamental Slytherin had never been able to resist, Rupert knew it was a mystery. And so it was not long before evenings found the two of them occupied with ancient tomes, reading out promising passages, marking pages with scraps of parchment, and generally becoming blindingly frustrated together.
Which was better than doing it alone, even if Severus did categorically refuse to believe Rupert's instincts were pointing him at the right girl. He smirked and called Severus prejudiced. Severus smirked back and called him an idealistic fool without enough time on his hands. And then Rupert dared him to take some time off, and they both got hopelessly distracted before they could sort out which of them was right.
Which made it such a surprise to find Ginevra Weasley timidly interrupting his seventh year class the next day. She bore in one hand a deeply dented cauldron which was scorched about the edges in the shape of a smallish hand, and in the other, a note from the Potions Master which read:
I shall thank you to keep this, and any future killing machines you may find at Hogwarts out of my dungeons.
P.S. I still say a Slayer from the Weasley clan has to be the worst idea ever conceived! You really should protest this, for the sake of the bloody world!