Disclaimer: The inhabitants of Hogwarts are the property of JK Rowling.
Games of Skill and Chance
Part 4 - Sorry!
"… and I completely over-reacted. Ow!" exclaimed Snape, snarling at his torturer.
"Just a little further," said Poppy Pomfrey. "It’s not exactly unusual for you to snap at the students Severus. What were they doing in your classroom anyway? It’s not like you to allow games in detention. Right, flex your foot and stretch your calf."
"Oh, I found them…" He hestitated. Drat! He’d been about to give away that he’d been ‘prowling’. All those years of lying to Voldemort and he still slipped up when trying to deceive Pomfrey.
"Go on," said the medi-witch, folding her arms across her chest and looking stern.
"Never mind that. What’s wrong with me? Being stupidly nice to the brats one minute, yelling at them over a harmless joke the next," he said gloomily, finishing the stretch and flopping down to sit on the end of a neatly made bed.
"Oh, Severus," she said, sitting down next to him and putting a gentle hand on his arm. "If you didn’t have some reaction to everything you’ve been through, that’s when I’d think there was something wrong with you. Have you seen any of the other Order members lately?"
He shook his head. Lupin, Fletcher, the surviving Weasleys – they hadn’t bothered to seek him out and he wasn’t especially surprised at that as their acceptance of him had always been uneasy, even after he had earned their trust a dozen times over. Dumbledore had been the bond that held them all together and now he was gone. The most powerful force for light in a hundred years had died doing what he believed in the most, protecting his young charges.
"Severus?" Pomfrey’s voice roused him from his reverie.
"Sorry. I was just thinking."
"I know," she said. "Look, I’m worried about Remus Lupin. He’s not keeping in touch with anyone. Have you heard from him?"
Snape snorted, half in amusement, half in disgust. "Sorry Poppy, he’s not exactly likely to stay in touch with me."
Pomfrey continued to look worried, but patted Snape on the shoulder as she stood up.
"We’re all finished here for today. It looks like it’s healing nicely, but seriously Severus, wandering the castle at night won’t help."
"Yes ma’am," he grumbled, but his lips threatened to quirk into a smile.
He was going to have to apologise to the students. The very idea stuck in his craw, but then he had ruined their blasted game, he thought as he approached his rooms, limping painfully. Treatment – or should that be torture – sessions always made his leg ache even worse.
As he pushed open his door he spotted a folded piece of parchment on the floor. He picked it up and read the neatly handwritten note.
Dear Professor Snape,
We are very sorry about what happened yesterday. We only realised later what Nicolas had said and how it might sound. We were all kept safe at home during the fighting and Rupert is Muggleborn so doesn’t really understand about what happened in the past few years although we’ve told him quite a lot.
Anyway, even though we only know what our parents and the older students have told us we want you to know that we think you were really brave.
Roger, Rupert, Dafydd and Nicolas.
Oh dear, thought Snape, blinking furiously. An apology really wasn’t going to be enough. Do any of the shops in Hogsmeade sell Muggle games?
"Stay behind a moment Mr Dingwall," said Snape as the class packed away their cauldrons after a relatively successful attempt at sticky sealing potions. A few Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff students threw the boy sympathetic glances.
Once the door had closed, Snape drew a deep breath. Apologies really weren’t his forte.
"I’m afraid none of the shops in Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley stock your game Mr Dingwall, so I haven’t been able to replace it. If you would like a wizard chess set I could order one, otherwise I am happy to give you some money to buy a new game."
"I’m sorry Mr Dingwall. I over-reacted. I’d appreciate it if you would pass my thanks for the note and my apology on to your friends, but the game was yours as I understand."
"Yes, sir," said the boy, staring at his teacher.
"Well, how much money do you need?"
"I’m not sure, sir. Does this mean we can still come and play in the potions room?"
"Er," said Snape, taken aback. "Yes, if you wish."
"Wicked!" said Rupert, breaking into a grin.
To be continued.
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