Chapter 48 : The Quidditch Commercial
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The Quidditch Commercial
Three days later, Severus and Lily were released from the hospital. Not all the burns had healed, and they still needed the Burn Salve (made by Professor Snape, "your namesake" Karla had remarked) applied at least two times a day, but the Healers declared all of that could be done by their parents. After talking with both Harry and Ginny, Severus asked if could assist Harry with more potions. "You want to help me make potions, is that it?" Harry asked.
"Not just help, but show you how to do it right," the small former professor stated.
"Are you saying I was doing it wrong?" Harry queried, a little sharply.
"Not wrong . . . just that, I know more than you do and I can do it better," Severus said honestly. "I . . . tried to look at your notes for the new potion and they were . . . almost unreadable! And they had all cross-outs and . . . I'm sorry, Harry, but you have horrible record keeping skills."
Ginny started to laugh. "What'd I tell you, dear? That your penmanship needed work too."
Harry cast her an annoyed glance. "Be quiet, Gin. You don't have to rub it in." He crossed his arms over his chest. "Okay, professor, how are you going to teach me how to be a better potion maker? You're only six!"
"My body is six, yes, but up here I still have all my knowledge and experience," Severus commented. "Being UnVeiled hasn't changed that. The first thing you need to do as a good researcher is to be able to write neatly. Instead of scribbling, write slowly, and then write down all your sources and where you found them, that way you can go back and doublecheck if you're not exactly sure what something does, especially when you're making something new . . ."
"Harry, why don't you take notes?" Ginny suggested impishly.
Harry flushed. Both of them were right, but he didn't want to admit it. "Why don't you go and play with Celia and Alby?" he suggested tartly to his wife. "I don't need you here to witness this . . . humiliation."
"Harry!" Ginny snapped, glaring at him.
"I'm not trying to humiliate you, I'm trying to help you," the pint-sized potions professor protested. "You've seen me at my worst, Harry, you ought to know the difference. Without good research skills you'll fail everytime you try a new experiment. Trust me on that."
Harry paused, seeing that Severus did indeed look slightly upset. The former professor was right, he was trying to help, and in a much nicer fashion than with his usual razor-edged tongue. "All right. Sorry. Let me fetch a paper and a pen. Sev, what was that about resources again?"
"If I'm going to teach, you should call me "professor" not "Sev" . . ."
"Don't push your luck," Harry snorted. "You're still my son."
Ginny grinned at her two stubborn menfolk and left the room. Celia was watching Indi along with Alby and she wanted to bake some oatmeal raisin biscuits before the little one woke and wanted to be fed. As she Summoned the ingredients from the pantry, she could hear the low murmur of Severus and Harry's voices and smirked. Trust Severus to become a professor again, even at six! Then again, perhaps the old adage was true . . . you could take the boy out of school, but not the teacher out of the boy . . .
"The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout," Severus sang to Indi, making his hands climb over each other as he sang the old song in front of her as she lay in her cradle. "Down came the rain and washed the spider out," his hands made swishing motions to indicate rain and Indi gurgled at him. "Up came the sun and dried up all the rain," his arms opened wide to indicate the sun rising. "Then the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again!" He poked Indi in the tummy, making the baby squeal with delight.
"I remember that song," Celia said as she came into the room to see Indigo. "My mum always used to sing that to me in the bath." She grinned at the baby, who was cooing happily at her big brother.
"Mine sang that to me when I was small," Severus remarked, tickling Indi so she would laugh. One of the few memories he had of Eileen Prince Snape as a happy mother was singing that song to him while she combed his hair, on her lap. "Like that, do you, pretty Indi girl?" he asked, his voice very soft, like the whisper of a cat's paws.
Indigo giggled shrilly. She was wide awake and normally would be screaming in hunger, but not while Sevvy was there to entertain her.
"Sevvy, do you know this one?" Celia asked, smiling at the baby. Indi always made her smile, even when she was sad and missed her dad and her home. She couldn't always says she missed her mummy as much, but sometimes she did. Celia began to sing, "Rock-a-bye baby, on the tree top. When the wind blows, the cradle will rock . . ." She began to sway back and forth, with her arms cradling a pretend baby.
"When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall," Severus continued, also rocking.
"And down will come baby, cradle and all!" they finished together.
Indigo looked up and them and squealed happily.
"How about this one?" Severus began, but before he could get out the first words, he heard his younger brother yelling from the bottom of the stairs, "Sevvy, Cee, Jamie and Siri are here!"
Celia looked at Severus and said, "I'll be right down, Al! Are you coming, Sevvy? They'll probably want to fly brooms."
"Maybe a little later. I'll stay with Indi till Ginny comes."
"Okay, see ya!" and the blonde girl went rushing down the stairs.
Jamie, Sirius, and Celia were all lying down on the carpet in front of the Potters' magical TV set, watching the Quidditch Channel. Right now there was a break inbetween the game where the Cannons played the Harpies and a lively commercial was on, advertising the newest broom for children—the Meteor Skyshooter 2007.
"This broom, boys and girls, has the latest safety features spelled right into the broom—making it safe for children of all ages—even toddlers! It can go as fast as a normal broom, or as slow as you like, depending on the speed that's asked for. There are overriding parental speed controls on it so your mums and dads can keep you from nasty falls and accidents. If you're a practicing Quidditch team star or just out to have fun with your friends, this is the broom for you! All new design, better Cushioning charms, even a charmed-in Warmth spell, so you can fly in any kind of weather!"
"Wow! That's so cool!" Sirius said in longing. "I'm gonna ask for one for my birthday!"
"Or Christmas!" Jamie added.
"Wait, there's more! Listen!" Celia shrilled.
"But . . . there's more! The International Quidditch Association, who finances our company, Mercury Products, LLC., wants to bring you a special offer. This is a contest open to young fliers ages 5 to 7. We need two people, a boy and a girl, to showcase our new product in a commercial. If you're interested and have a note with your parent or guardian's permission, please write to us at . . . 200 Merlin Street . . . London . . ."
"Quick, write it down!" Sirius yelled, grabbing an old Quidditch magazine off the small table and a quill, where he scribbled down the address. "Got it! Now who's going to be the one to ask Mum and Dad? Jamie, you oughta do it."
"For who? Me and you?" asked his brother. "What about Teddy?"
"He's too old. Remember, it's only for ages 5 to 7," Sirius reminded him.
"Me too!" cried Celia, unwilling to be left out. "My mum always said I'd look beautiful in a commercial." She also didn't say that once Monica had entered her in a contest for the cutest baby, but she'd come in third. Monica claimed they were biased.
"You can go for the girl in the commercial," Jamie said. "But you have to ask Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny."
"I can do that tonight," Celia said determinedly.
"You think Mum and Dad will let us do it?" Jamie asked Sirius uneasily.
"Sure they will! Why not? It's a chance to have their sons become famous! And the lucky ones chosen get a free prototype!" Sirius said excitedly. He was so mad for that broom it was frightening. He really wanted to be in that commercial.
"Yeah, that's right," Jamie recalled. He was hoping his parents said yes, and then he would make sure the company knew that he was the best flyer among the Lupin boys, better even than Sirius. They would pick winners in just a few weeks, because of the deadline for the commercial. Jamie thought he could win easily . . . if not for Sirius entering.
He didn't mind Celia, even though she was a good flyer, she was a girl, and wouldn't be competing with him. But Sirius . . . he ground his back teeth together. Maybe his parents wouldn't let both of them compete . . . after all Sirius was already famous for something that happened long ago, and Jamie had never gotten recognized for anything other than pranking his nursery school teacher, so . . .
Sirius was already dreaming of the day he'd fly on the Meteor, doing cool moves like corkscrews and upside down shots. He was sure Dora and Remus would let him try out for the commercial, why wouldn't they? It would be a great coup for the son of Magical Law Enforcement to be on a Quidditch commercial. And did it really matter if he was adopted? Or course not! He was way better than Jamie on a broom, Teddy too, and the person who saw them fly would know it in an instant.
"C'mon, let's practice some moves!" he called, unable to sit still any longer.
They all got to their feet and rushed out the door, grabbing their brooms on the porch.
"Dad, can Siri and I be in a commercial?" Jamie asked over supper that night. He wanted to be the first to ask, since as the youngest, he was a little spoiled.
"A commercial?" Remus paused with the broccoli halfway to his mouth. "What do you mean, Jamie?"
"We were watching the Quidditch Channel at Uncle Harry's house . . ." Jamie explained, telling his parents and Teddy all about the contest for the new broom.
"And you, Sirius, and Celia want to try out for this commercial?" Remus clarified.
"And I'm gonna win!" Sirius interrupted.
"Yeah, right," Jamie sneered. "Everyone knows I'm the best flier in the family."
"Are too!" Jamie half-stood, his small fist clenched.
"Enough! The pair of you!" ordered Dora suddenly. "I will not have my kitchen turned into some war zone because of a stupid commercial."
Teddy rolled his eyes. "Well, that was a bright idea, guys."
"Shut up, Teddy!" both younger siblings shouted.
Sirius turned pleading eyes on Dora. "Please, Mum? Please let me try out for the commercial? I promise I'll be extra good and do all my chores without complaining."
"Suck up," Jamie mouthed.
Sirius aimed a fake punch at him.
"We'll see," was all Dora responded. "Your dad and I will have to discuss this." She gestured to the kitchen. "Now, it's time to clean up the table. I believe it's your turn tonight, James."
Groaning, Jamie began to gather up the dishes, while Sirius went to the sink and turned on the water and Teddy got a dishtowel to dry.
Remus dragged Dora out of the kitchen and the boys were left alone.
Immediately, Sirius squirted Jamie with the hose from the faucet.
"Hey! Watch it, you stupid mutt!"
"You watch it, baby!" Sirius taunted.
Jamie set down the stack of plates on the counter, dripping wet, and yelled, "I bet they pick me for the commercial 'stead of you, Siri!"
"Only if there was nobody else!" Sirius snorted. "I'm so much better than you, a blind man could see it."
"Both of you better quit it," Teddy warned. "Because if Mum and Dad come back and see you fighting, there goes your chance in the commercial. You don't behave, you don't go."
"Quit being so bossy," Sirius ordered crossly.
"I'm not, just telling you, is all," Teddy said, using his Elder Brother voice. "Now start washing, Siri. I'm not getting grounded 'cause of you."
Sirius stuck his tongue out at Teddy, then began to wash. He would show them. He would show them all.
"Do you think it's all right to let them try out for this commercial thing?" asked Dora.
"I don't see why not. If Harry allows Celia . . ." Remus said.
"Has he allowed Celia to do it?"
"I don't know yet," Remus said. "Why don't I call and ask him?"
He stuck his head in the fire after putting down some Floo Powder. "Potter residence, Godric's Hollow."
He spent a few minutes talking before pulling his head back. "Harry said he and Ginny think it's cute to let Celia try out. They said maybe the commercial will help her mum look favorably on magic if she's on TV."
"That woman makes me want to hurl, being so—so cruel to her own daughter!" Dora said angrily.
"I don't like her either, but you can't choose your parents," Remus said wisely. "Maybe she'll start thinking differently once she sees her kid's a celebrity."
"What an idiot, as Hermione would say," Dora snorted. "Well, since Harry's doing it . . . I guess it wouldn't hurt for Jamie and Sirius to try out as well. I just don't want them fighting over it, Remus. They've got to behave, otherwise no try out."
"Yes, I agree," Remus said. "I'll tell them so right now."
Once their father had laid down the rules, he left to have a few moments alone with his wife, making Teddy say, smugly, "Told you so."
"Be quiet, Ted, before I decide you look good with a black eye," threatened Sirius. He hated know-it-alls.
"Do it. Then you'll be banned from the commercial."
"I'll do it after," Sirius growled, and washed the last pot. Brothers! Sometimes he loved them and sometimes he hated them.
The applications for the commercial were sent in, and in about a week, the boys and Celia were taken to see one of the wizards running the commercial for a flying test and had pictures taken of their position on a Meteor. The top contestants were examined for flying ability and photogenic qualities on a broom. They were told they would be contacted in three days with the results.
Sirius couldn't wait. He was sure he would be picked. There was no doubt in his mind. He went over to the park to practice with Frankie, Alby, Severus, and Rose.
"My mama's as big as a house!" Rose said, laughing. "My daddy says she's like a female version of Hagrid."
Everyone giggled about that. "Is she having twins then?" asked Severus.
"Uh . . . don't know yet," Rose admitted.
"Well, I'm going to be in a commercial!" Sirius bragged.
"You are? What commercial? Where?" asked Rose, wide-eyed.
"On the Quidditch Channel. They want me to ride their new broom, a Meteor 2007."
"You mean you're hoping they pick you," Severus corrected. "Jamie and Celia entered themselves in the contest too."
Sirius scowled. "Celia's a girl, she's not judged by the same standards. And Jamie's a baby, he can't fly a toothpick."
"I thought Jamie's a good flyer," objected Frankie.
"Shows how much you know, Frances!" Sirius growled.
Frankie looked hurt.
Alby glared at Sirius. "That's not nice! Frankie can say whatever she wants if it's true!"
"Well, it's not! I'm a better flyer than Jamie any day!" Sirius declared. He looked like he was about to hit Alby.
Severus stepped protectively in front of his brother. "Don't, Black. Touch him and I'll rearrange you."
"I'm bigger than you, Snape. I'll punch your lights out."
"Not if I slam you first." Severus snarled. He didn't want a fight, but if Black was going to hurt Alby, the kid gloves were off.
"Let's not fight," Rose cried, trying to separate them. "You'll all get in trouble, and Sev, you just got better from your accident. Why don't we all play a round or two of Quaffle Keep away?"
"Yeah, lets," agreed Frankie, backing up Rose.
The boys agreed, though Sirius and Severus played a bit rough, shoving each other on their brooms as they played.
Sirius was frustrated and though he would never admit it, a bit worried that Jamie, who was younger, might get picked by the TV people to be in the commercial. He really wished his little brother weren't flying, then things would be simpler. He ducked around a tree branch and flew wide, trying to catch the Quaffle, which Frankie now had.
As he thrust himself into a dive, flying right in front of Alby, he managed to grab the Quaffle from Frankie. "Ha! Gotcha!" he yelled.
"Sirius! Look out!" Frankie yelled, but not in time.
Sirius turned and saw the tree branch and cried out, but it was too late. He hit the branch full force and fell to the ground, tumbling through the air to lie on the grass in a senseless heap.
"Dear sweet Merlin!" cried Rose in horror.
"Siri! Is he all right?" cried Frankie.
"Is he dead?" gasped Alby.
Severus flew down and landed on the ground a few moments later. As the only semi-adult here, assessing Sirius' condition fell to him. He knelt and put his fingers on Sirius' neck. "He's alive. But his arm looks broken. I don't know if there's anything else, but he's knocked out. Somebody call Aunt Dora or Uncle Remus."
"And somebody Floo St. Mungos," Rose cried. "It's an emergency."
While the other children scattered, Severus remained next to Sirius. He wasn't very fond of the other boy, but he didn't want him dead either.
Suddenly, Sirius stirred. "Oohh! My head!"
"Does it hurt?" asked Severus.
"Like bloody blazes, Snape. And so does everything else."
"Just lie still. We've called your parents and St. Mungos. They'll be right over. Does your arm hurt? I think it's broken."
"Yeah," Sirius said, groaning. "I can't believe I didn't see that branch. Merlin, I was so stupid!"
"About as stupid as I was with that potion," Severus admitted ruefully. "Don't move."
"But it hurts lying here."
"You could have internal injuries, Black. So stay still."
"I wish I'd stayed knocked out. Oww!" Sirius whimpered. He felt like a dolt, falling off that way, and now he was hurting as well. "How come you're not saying I told you so?" he grumped, getting mad at Snape would take his mind off the pain, only Snape wasn't cooperating.
"Your arm and whatever else hurts tells you that better than I could," Severus said candidly. "Can you feel your feet and legs? Your arm?"
"Yeah, and I wish I couldn't."
"Well, at least you're not paralyzed."
"Oh, gee, that's really comforting," Sirius sneered, shifting slightly and wincing. "Great bedside manner there, Healer."
"It's true," Severus defended.
Just then Dora and a team of mediwizards rushed up. They gently levitated Sirius onto a floating stretcher and then they raced away to the medical carriage, drawn by invisible thestrals. Severus watched them go, and wondered if Sirius was going to be all right. Based on how he was complaining, Severus suspected he might be.
Sirius had a broken arm and a wrenched knee and various bruises. The Healers patched him up right in the emergency room section of St. Mungos and sent him home the same day with potions for pain and bone mending. Dora and Remus fussed over him until Sirius wanted to howl. He' d never been a good patient, and he hated being confined to a house for a few days. But the Healer had said he was on bed rest for three days, to give his bones and muscles time to heal.
Jamie came and shook his head in mock-sympathy. "Merlin, but that sure was dumb, wasn't it, Teddy?" he drawled to his Metamorphmagus brother.
"It wasn't planned, Jamie, now quit it!" Teddy said.
"Yeah, before I knock the cheek right out of you," Sirius growled.
"Like that?" Jamie hooted.
"No, once I'm better, you little snot!" Sirius waved his crutch at his brother.
"Oooh, I'm scared!"
"Knock it off, James!" Teddy ordered and cuffed the smaller Lupin upside the head.
"Oww! I'm telling!" Jamie cried, then ran out of the room.
"Will he?" asked Sirius worriedly.
"Not a chance. He tattles and he'll have to admit he started it. He doesn't want to get his bum smacked, so he won't say a thing," Teddy said dismissively. "You all right, Siri?"
"Fine, except I'm just . . . embarrassed at falling off that way. I'm a good flier."
"Uncle Harry says even good fliers fall off," Teddy recited. All of their friends and family had brought gifts of sweets, Quidditch posters, books, and some flowers for Sirius, as well as get well cards.
"I guess so," Sirius said glumly. "But now I'm stuck in this bed."
The next three days were torture for the Lupin family. Sirius was not a good patient, and upwards of five times a day and night, Dora yelled at him for getting out of bed too soon. The last time she begged Remus to deal with it, before she Stuck the recalcitrant boy to the bed.
Remus went in to see his son with a sigh. He found Sirius, grumpy and scowling, sitting on the edge of his bed, looking like a prisoner waiting for the executioner.
"What's going on, scamp? Why are you giving your mum such a hard time, Padfoot?" he asked, sitting in the chair next to the bed. Because Sirius was so grumpy, Jamie and Teddy had taken to sleeping on the sofa downstairs for now.
"Because this is so bloody boring, Moony!" Sirius whined.
"Watch the mouth," Remus warned.
"Sorry, but it is! I wish I could become Padfoot. You wouldn't lock a dog up like this."
"Sirius, you know why the Healer said what he did. You're old enough to understand, even though you're seven."
"It doesn't make it any easier. I hate being cooped up. Always have," muttered Sirius rebelliously.
"I know," Remus said. "But you need to rest and get better. How about I play some cards with you?"
"I'd rather play chess."
"Wizard Chess it is, then," Remus said affably, and Summoned the board.
But Sirius soon found himself losing, and grew irritable again. "This sucks! You're cheating, Moony!"
"I am not," Remus snapped. "Sirius, I'm better than you, so of course I'm winning. You need to learn how to lose gracefully."
"I don't like losing," muttered Sirius.
"No one does, but it's a fact of life," Remus told him. "Do you need some pain potions?"
Sirius shook his head, moody.
Remus took pity on the youngster and said softly, "Would it make you feel better if I told you a secret? Something no one else knows yet but me and your mum?"
Remus smiled slyly. "Like the fact that I know who is in that Quidditch commercial."
Sirius' eyes bugged out. "Who? Tell, please, Dad! Tell me!"
"Well . . . only if you stop being a grouchy little brat."
"I will! I will! Now will you tell me?" Sirius begged, using his best puppydog eyes.
"All right. There's Celia and another little girl called Samantha. And . . . you and Jamie."
"Both of us?" gasped Sirius.
"Yes, both of you. The men who picked the final contestants had the devil of a time picking between you, so finally they gave up and picked both of you. Then they had to pick a runner up for the girls, and that's how they did it. So . . . how's that make you feel?"
"Great!" Sirius said, and then he came around the chess board and hugged Remus hard. "I'm sorry I was such a horrid brat."
Remus laughed. "Sirius, we're all horrible brats when we're sick. It's because we're men. Or at least, that's what your mum says."
Sirius laughed, that was typical Dora. He also knew he owed his brother an apology, but he couldn't wait to see that Quidditch commercial, or ride his new broom.
Well, there you are! How did you like this chapter?
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