AN: I read shadowycat's "Dueling With Dolts" this evening, it was a break in writing "Once a Headmaster" and "A place" , and this plot bunny bit me. I asked permission to write the next section to their story and received it. Please go read "Dueling with Dolts" to know what happened in Filius' classroom. Also, the parts that Filius said that Gilderoy says are direct quotes from shadowycat.

Thanks for forgiving me for this interlude. ^-^


Making Deals

Filius waited until after curfew to track down Severus. He knew that he had to do it soon or Gilderoy was going to be visiting the infirmary once again, but probably for more than just a bump on his head. This last couple of weeks had been a bit tough on the Potions Master if his scowling face in the staff rooms were any indication. As far as he could tell, the first years were a bit more dense than usual in Charms which meant that they were being even worse in Potions. Tack on the "Malfoy and Potter Rivalry" that Severus had to help deal with and you had one touchy Potions Master.

He headed to Severus' lab, sure that he would be there since he was not on hall duty tonight. When he found the door locked and no indication of recent occupation, he decided to use a spell to track the illusive man down versus running all about the school. "Point me."

Following the tip of his wand, he headed off to wherever Severus had decided to wander. After walking for almost fifteen minutes, Filius decided that Severus walked to much of the castle halls. He had expected to end up in the dungeons not up near the Astronomy tower. However, he was quite happy to see the younger professor coming down the tower stairs. "Severus, a word?"

Severus glanced down at the diminutive professor waiting at the foot of the stairs. "Good evening Filius. I didn't think it was your evening to patrol."

Filius acknowledged his observation. "True, I didn't think tonight was yours, either. Isn't tonight Gilderoy's." He watched the other's face to see his reaction. Not that Severus normally disguised his dislike for the DADA teacher, but it could have been a front for the other teachers and students. It was a small source of amazement that this taciturn man trusted him to show his true self for just a bit.

Frowning in disgust, Severus waved a dismissive hand. "That man has yet to leave his office."

Filius raised an eyebrow. 'Severus had to have put an alert charm on his door. That is the only way he would know that. I wonder why?' He made eye contact for a moment and quirked an eyebrow in silent question.

Severus shook his head slightly. That was not a conversation for the hall. When Filius nodded slightly, Severus gestured for them to continue down the hall. As he started walking, The Potions Master shortened his strides for his companion. "What did you need to see me about? Is one of my Slytherins giving you difficulties?"

"Oh, no!" Filius' voice squeaked slightly as he dispelled that idea quickly. "No, I fear it is I who am giving you difficulties." One raised dark eyebrow asked him how. "Gilderoy has permission from our Headmaster to start a dueling club."

Severus' eyes widened slightly. Filius had been asking for one at the beginning of every school year since he had started teaching. "And the Headmaster agreed to him running one? Tell me he allowed you to take it over."

Filius gave him a look that said All in good time. "Gilderoy came to ask me to be his assistant." His face crumpled up with the distaste that he was feeling as he continued and his next words were spoken with disgust. "To hold his cloak and pair up students. His words not mine." He watched as the black eyes of his companion narrowed.

"And of course the fool could not tell just how insulting that was." Severus looked down at Filius trying to tell if this was the worst blunder that the idiot who had been hired to teach such important subject as the Defense Against Dark Arts had made .

"He compounded it by stating that I had some small experience in the art." He watched as the other bit back his scathing comment. "So, I asked him to duel me so that I could get a feel of his style, once I convinced him that the students were going to be asking questions and I needed to be able to answer them in a way that was conducive to his teaching method."

"And the dolt is not with Poppy because of ..."

The Charms master's eyes sparkled. "Oh, he had to go see her. He fell into a desk. He said it was an evasive maneuver to get away from my spell, but there wasn't enough room for him to perform it correctly in my classroom."

The Potions Master's eyes brightened a bit. "Filius, you are going to have to show me this in a pensive. But what I don't understand is why this is going to give me difficulties. If anything it sounds like it will be an enjoyable evening in your office. Should I bring the drinks?"

"He still needs an assistant as we both agreed that our styles just do not mesh." He looked up at the young man.

Severus' eyes widened, and then narrowed. "You did not suggest me. You know just how much I like that idiot."

Filius nodded slightly. "Please take him up on it. Minerva and I will be waiting with the pensive every evening after the meetings."

Severus stopped and spun to face the half goblin. "Minerva? She knows about this?"

Filius grinned. "She walked in as he was picking himself up off my floor."

"Why should I subject myself to dealing with this dunderhead of a professor for both of your entertainment?" Severus crossed his arms as he glared halfheartedly.

"Because he was going to ask Sybil. And you know how many students are going to come to this. Someone needs to be able to see what is about to happen and know how to react. And you have some of the best reflexes here. Almost as good as mine. But even better is that your very presence will dampen down some of their enthusiasm and help keep them from being too stupid." The glare left him and was currently digging a hole into the stones above his head.

The growl that came out showed just how frustrated Severus was feeling for being backed into a corner. "Potter is going to be there. I can guarantee it. And I know that Malfoy will be as well. Either Minerva or myself need to be there, or there might be blood shed."

Severus wasn't exaggerating, he knew some of the spells that Lucius had been teaching his son. He raked a hand through his hair as he looked back down at his fellow teacher. "Okay, I'll do it, but Minerva is supplying the drinks. Tell her it had better be the good scotch. I'm going to need it after dealing with that dolt and all those dunderheads."

"Oh, one more thing Severus." Filius waited to continue after he was sure that Severus was focused on him and not on the evenings that were to come. "I told him that I don't think you have any dueling experience."

The black eyes widened. 'And just what do you think I was doing in all those Death Eater meetings, having tea? Okay, maybe not strict dueling, but close enough. We trained by dueling.'

"Filius..." The smile on the previous dueling champion's face made him stop.

"So, do me a favor... use the simplest spell you can think of and take him down before he can get off a single spell. I want to see that."

A long finger traced a set of thin lips. That image was very enticing. "I think I can do that for you, but what am I getting out of this?"

"Minerva's good scotch... and I think I can charm that set of potion knives for you. I found an ever sharpen spell that should not affect your ingredients." He watched as a rare smile graced Severus' face.

"You have a deal. When shall I bring the knives?"

"I'll stop by your office sometime this week. Now, I suggest we head over to tell Minerva. It might take both of us to convince her to break out the good scotch."

With a slight change of direction, the two Heads of House went in search of the third while wondering if they should get the fourth involved. Pomona always had very good biscuits.