Disclaimer: The inhabitants of Hogwarts are the property of JK Rowling.
A quick author’s note: Thank you to everyone who has reviewed so far, especially those of you who didn’t leave an email address and therefore didn’t get a personal reply.
Yes, the boys’ game was Risk – to clear up any potential confusion, but not all editions have the tiny cavalrymen.
And the chapter titles are all games – although I realised Sorry! is a rather obscure 1980s UK game.
Games of Skill and Chance
Part 5 - Scrabble
Thursday evening saw Professor Snape hurrying through the castle towards his classroom. The staff meeting had gone on and on, with long debate about modifying the curriculum to include some basic grounding in the subjects taught in Muggle schools. He was all in favour of someone giving the students a basic grounding in correct grammar – it would certainly make marking their essays easier – but the discussion about who might actually have time to teach the course had been tedious and lengthy and had made him late.
Finally, limping and a little out of breath, he rounded the corner into the potions corridor and found eight impatient students waiting for him, carrying a collection of battered boxes.
Eight? Seeing double Severus? he asked himself, blinking. But indeed the four first year gamers had been joined by a pair of Ravenclaw second year boys, and two identical tiny button-nosed blond girls one of whom was Bridget Grote, another of his new young Slytherins. He racked his memory for a moment before remembering Grote had a twin in Hufflepuff.
"What’s this?" he snapped.
The newcomers immediately looked worried, backing away a few steps. "They wanted somewhere to play, sir," piped up Roger, looking all swagger and bravado but sounding a little nervous. "It’s all right if they join us isn’t it? Mike and Alistair said it was too noisy in the common room to play chess properly and Bridget and Sally hardly ever get to see each other except in Charms class."
It was an invasion, damn it! However, Snape suspected that getting rid of the extra students would be far more hassle than just letting them in to play. What was that about not running a games club? he thought, shaking his head as he ushered them all through the door.
"I have work to do," he told them brusquely, "so keep the noise down."
To their credit, the gamers were actually a remarkably quiet bunch for Hogwarts students. The two Ravenclaws barely spoke at all, just glared at their wizard chess board with fierce concentration. The twin girls kept up a low murmur of conversation as they played some kind of muggle game with lettered tiles, while the four usual Thursday players had apparently found some old school sets of draughts and settled down to two separate games.
Snape sat down at his desk and stared at the blank parchment in front of him. He dabbed his quill into a well of black ink and began.
He stopped and crumpled up the sheet. It was far too insincere, the werewolf certainly wasn’t dear to him, no matter what horrors they’d been through together. Really, it was absurd to be writing at all. It wasn’t as if he normally sent any note with the monthly dose of potion, but Pomfrey’s concern for Lupin had been nagging at his conscience. He pulled a fresh sheet of parchment towards him.
Here is the potion.
He paused. That was all he had to say really, but five words made for a pretty poor letter, so he pressed on, deciding to fill out the missive with a few general details about the term so far.
Life at Hogwarts is strangely quiet after the past few years of frantic activity. Professor McGonagall has made few changes so far although I cannot help but support her plans to tackle the students’ hopeless ignorance of how to compose a proper essay.
I also appear to be swamped with students who wish to use the potions classroom for a games club. It is therefore a great relief that this is to be my last term in residence here, although I have not as yet made any decision as to what I will be doing next year.
Again he paused and moved to screw up the overly revealing personal letter, but then he hesitated. It wasn’t as if Lupin was likely to read the letter anyway. He’d probably just bin it as soon as the owl bearing the potion arrived.
Ravenclaw are ahead on points so far, but it is early days yet. The Slytherin quidditch team looks promising for the season. Gryffindor are struggling to find a worthy successor to Potter.
Does the wolfsbane potion remain effective? It may have to be brewed in stronger concentration if you develop a tolerance to it.
He folded the parchment and sealed it ready for sending.
To be continued.
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