If Only Tom
Riddle Would Have Found A Hobby…
The older wizard pumped his fist
in the air in a motion of childlike exuberance as he and his teammates watched
the goblins at the end of the alley place all ten pins upright again.
“Nice one, sir,” said a much
younger wizard with long, blond hair and aristocratic face. The blond woman at
the tally nodded in agreement as she neatly placed an “X” in the third box next
to the name “Tom Riddle.”
“Thank you, Lucius,” Tom said as
he ran a hand through his short salt and pepper hair. He plopped down on the
faded green leather bench, his bright green robes billowing around him. Kevin
Crabbe and Henry Goyle grunted their congratulations before returning to their
Italian sausage sandwiches.
“That’s your eighth straight
strike,” Sirius Black grumbled as he polished his own bowling ball, a deep red
one with “Dawg Starr” emblazoned in gold on the surface. “If you count the five from
the last game. You know you aren’t supposed to use magic!”
“Who said I was using magic?” Tom
Riddle said with feigned innocence. Sirius snorted and rolled his eyes.
“You’re up next, Arthur,” said
Remus Lupin, in an effort to forestall another squabble.
“Throw a good one, Arthur!” Tonks
shouted in encouragement. Her hair, bubblegum pink right then, was sloppily
tied at the base of her neck.
“’Roll,’ Miss Tonks, not ‘throw,’”
said Severus Snape has he walked towards them carrying a tray with two large,
clear pitchers filled with butterbeer and a dozen clear plastic tumblers. “We are
not at a game of cricket.” He was flushed and looked upset,
and the reason seemed to the half dozen or so young witches who followed close
behind, sighing and giggling behind his back.
“Here now, let me help you with
that,” Tonks offered as she stood up. “And you don’t have to be so formal!”
“No! Don’t!” Snape sputtered, but
it was too late. When Tonks reached for some of the cups, her blue and yellow
bowling shoe caught the edge of a chair leg and she went falling towards him.
Lucius Malfoy and Remus Lupin both
drew their wands to levitate the tray, which floated out of Snape’s hands and
settled down safely on one of the benches. Tonks wound up falling into Snape,
who managed to catch and steady her.
The entourage that followed Snape
sighed in envy.
“Lucky girl,” said one of them.
She had dark brown hair and lacy pink robes.
“Don’t you have anything better to
do?” Snape said to his unwanted entourage as he pushed Tonks away from him. He
scowled up at the girls, who only sighed and giggled some more.
“That voice,” whispered another
girl, a strawberry blonde with mint green robes. “He could read me ‘Hogwarts, A
History.’” The others giggled in assent.
“Forward…and backwards!” said a third, with black hair and red robes. The others shrilled
like excited magpies over the idea.
Snape glowered at Sirius as he
brushed a string of greasy black hair from his face. “They have been at this
Sirius waved his hands in the air
in protest, but he was grinning from ear to ear. “What do you want me to do
about it? I’d steer them my way…” He looked hopefully at the girls, but they
all pointedly ignored him. The brown-haired girl with pink robes glared at
Sirius and rolled her eyes. “See? They want you!”
Snape’s glower only intensified.
“Black, if I find out that you had anything to do with this nonsense, I’ll hex
you into next week! I’ll turn you into a whimpering puppy!”
Sirius merely continued to grin,
and he gave Snape a look that said, “Go ahead, I dare you!”
“I don’t know why you are so
upset, Severus,” Arthur said amiably as he picked up his bowling ball, a plain
black one with a small, white “W” near the finger holes. “I mean, they are
very…oww! Molly, you didn’t have to do that!”
“Watch it,” Molly said sternly.
She went back to retying the shoe laces of her blue and red bowling shoes.
“All I was going to say is that
they seem nice enough,” Arthur said as he walked up to the alley.
Molly said, and she rolled her eyes. She then studied her shoes. “You know, why
did we have to copy Muggle tenpin bowling so…exactly? Whoever thought of coming
up with these hideous shoes?”
“I quite agree, Mrs. Weasley,”
Narcissa said as she surveyed her own footwear, green and orange bowling shoes,
with distaste. “Whoever designed these must have been color blind!”
“They’re not that bad,” said Peter
Pettigrew. He sat at the table with the scorecards, quill tucked behind one
ear. He was wearing a bright blue robe with red tropical flowers and hula girls
printed on the surface, and he was “complementing” this ensemble with a blazing
yellow scarf tied around his neck. His orange and red bowling shoes were nearly
obscured by the rainbow of color.
The three women looked at Peter,
looked at each other and guffawed. Oblivious, Peter watched Arthur as he got
ready to bowl.
“A Sickle says you get five pins
or less!” Lucius Malfoy called out.
“You’re on!” Arthur said, his eyes
gleaming with the anticipation for a challenge. He hoisted the ball in front of
him, concentrated, swung back, then walked forward and let the ball go.
“Not this again!” Molly groaned.
“Why can’t you two play for fun like the rest of us?”
Arthur didn’t answer as he watched
his ball go straight down the middle, knocking all but two pins down. He glowered
as he surveyed his results. Two alley goblins, dressed in long bright red
shifts tied kimono-style with a large yellow cloth climbed down ladders that
were located right behind where the pins were set up. They looked at the
remaining two pins and laughed nastily. One of the goblins even turned and
stuck his tongue out at the red-haired wizard.
“Oh, bad luck, Arthur,” Remus said
Lucius chuckled as he retrieved a
Sickle from an elegant black velvet pouch with gold cord drawstrings. “A
seven-ten split,” he drawled. “Accept this, and my condolences.” Snape, Crabbe,
Goyle and Riddle snickered.
Arthur scowled as his bowling ball
Apparated back into the long trough where the other balls were. Goyle wiped his
greasy hands on his robes and stood up. He and Goyle both picked their balls
up, and Arthur concentrated again as Goyle approached his lane. The goblins at
the end of Goyle’s lane gave a frightened squeak and
disappeared quickly up the ladders.
“Now, remember, Goyle,” Riddle
said lazily. “Your object is to knock the pins over, not destroy them.”
Goyle grunted his assent and threw
the ball with all of his considerable strength. The flooring before him cracked
as the ball careened down the alley and smashed into the pins on the right. One
goblin toppled down from the ladder and landed with an audible thump just
behind the pins. Four pins still remained standing.
“Better, much better,” Lucius
“Yes,” Tom said as he cast a quick
the alley. “Only the alley and two pins broken this time.
Much better, indeed.”
Arthur, meanwhile, had taken his
turn and managed to knock the seven-pin down.
“Nine points, not bad,” Arthur
said. “My average is still better than yours.” He directed this last at Lucius,
who merely shrugged.
“Not by much, and not if you keep
getting splits,” Malfoy retorted.
“Hah!” Arthur snorted. “I bet I
can beat you…”
“Arthur!” Molly scolded. “Knock it
“…By twenty points or more this
game,” Arthur continued. “Four Sickles.”
“You’re on!” Lucius said,
Narcissa sighed in exasperation.
“Now ladies, it’s just a friendly
wager between gentlemen,” Tom said lazily as he filed his nails.
Tonks, meanwhile, went and retrieved
her ball from the trough - an iridescent
white one she had just received for her 18th
“Make sure your shoelaces are tied
this time, Tonks,” Snape said, and he sneered.
Tonks merely blew Snape a
raspberry as she went to her lane. The goblins in her lane looked extremely
nervous. She swung her ball backwards and nearly fell, but she managed to swing
it forward in time and released. The ball went spiraling down the alley.
The other wizards visibly cringed
as they watched Tonks’ ball weave back and forth before actually striking the pins.
Tonks whooped. “I actually got them all!”
“Yes, you did,” Tom said with a
chuckle. “But I’m not sure it counts since it wasn’t technically in your lane.”
The other wizards howled, even those on Tonks’ team. Lucius was actually
doubled over with laughter and tears were streaming down Tom’s face.
Meanwhile, a group of yellow-robed
wizards four lanes over looked at them and glared peevishly. Tonks blushed to
the roots of her pink hair and smiled feebly at them. She waved tentatively in
their direction in apology.
“I should owl home to make sure
Draco is all right,” Narcissa suddenly said. She stood up and brushed the back
of her robes.
Lucius rolled his eyes. “My dear,
you’ve already owled home. Twice,
in fact. I’m sure everything is fine.”
“Yes, but I just want to make
certain,” Narcissa said as she ascended the four stairs leading to the upper
“Your sister Bellatrix is watching
him,” Tom said, and he shook his head in amusement. “And besides, he’s 12 years
“Yes,” Narcissa said darkly.
“That’s precisely my point!” She turned the corner and disappeared.
Molly Weasley said, partly in amusement and partly in exasperation. “My Ginny
is younger, and you don’t see me owling home ever
half an hour.”
“Well, you also don’t have a
sister like Bellatrix Lestrange,” Arthur said.
“True,” Molly said thoughtfully,
and then she turned to Lucius. “Were you ever able to repair the warped spots
on the walls and remove the soot stains from your floor from when Bellatrix
tried to teach Draco, Harry and Ron how to make that lava potion? Honestly,
what made her think that “Liquid Fire and
other Explosive Fun” Potions kit was an appropriate gift for a 12-year-old
is beyond me.”
Lucius frowned and rolled his eyes
as he shook his head.
“But Bellatrix didn’t give Draco
that kit,” Lucius said as he cast a mildly reproving look at Tom, who adopted
an innocent expression.
“It looked like something I would
have enjoyed when I was that age,” Tom protested.
“It figures,” Molly muttered as
she poured herself a tumbler full of butterbeer.
Peter Pettigrew stood up and
placed his dirty white quill on the table. He went over to the trough and
picked up a plain black ball, one of the alley’s balls.
“Now, let’s see how far you can
get the ball down the alley this time,” Sirius said, and he snickered.
Peter flushed, and he glared at
Sirius. “Hey, you didn’t have to call me tonight, if you didn’t want me.”
“The only reason you were called
is because it’s James and Lily’s anniversary, and Ted and Andromeda are
vacationing in Spain,”
Sirius said cuttingly. The goblins at the end of the alley looked at Peter and
doubled over laughing.
“Have you heard from your
parents?” Remus asked Tonks before Peter could retort.
“Got an owl just yesterday,” Tonks
said. “They are in the Basque country now. They say it’s lovely. By the way, new robe, Remus?”
Remus shrugged, but he smiled as
he smoothed the light creases out of his light gray robes. They had a wolf’s
head embroidered in darker gray and black on the back. “Fairly
new. Was in the back of my closet, and thought tonight would be a good
night to wear it.”
Peter threw his ball and nearly
toppled over in the process. The ball slowly meandered down the alley, drifting
towards the right side before striking the end pin. The wooden pin wobbled for
several seconds before finally falling over. This seemed to amuse the goblins
even more. One clapped his hands slowly, applauding in the most sarcastic and
insulting way ever seen at the alley, and the other goblin had tears running
from his squinty eyes.
“Well done, Peter,” Remus said
dryly. “Your first point of the evening.”
“Yeah, now let’s see if we can get
any more,” Sirius said as he wiped at his own streaming eyes. “Who knows? By
the end of the evening, he may rack up all of ten points!”
Peter scowled and his cheeks
turned scarlet as Severus prepared to take his turn. His fan club, lined up in
a motley row on the upper level, gave a collective squeal in delight, and Snape
ground his teeth. He stepped forward and prepared to throw the ball…
Snape!” the girls suddenly shouted. “He’s our man! If he can’t do it, no one
Snape made an uncharacteristically
graceless shuffle, and his thrown ball landed squarely in the right gutter. The
goblins in his lane roared with laughter, as did the wizards.
the girls chorused as one.
“You’ll do better on the next
one,” the brown-haired woman in pink said. “I know you will!”
“Need a shoulder rub first?” the
“That’s your eighth gutter ball,”
Lucius said between chuckles. “Bad night, Severus?”
Snape said nothing, but he turned
and glared at Sirius, who cackled all the harder.
“This is doing nothing for your
average,” Remus said mildly, but his eyes twinkled with amusement.
now,” Tom said as he stretched out on the bench. “We’re just here to have fun,
Narcissa returned, looking
slightly more relieved. “Everything’s fine. Draco and my sister are playing
chess right now. That should be safe enough.”
“Good, because it’s your turn,
luv,” Lucius said. Snape returned to the bench, after having somewhat restored
his bowling average by hitting eight pins. His “fan club” whooped and hollered
as if he had bowled a strike.
Narcissa wrinkled her nose at the
girls before picking up her bowling ball, a pastel pink one with “N.
Malfoy” and a vine-like flower etched in gold. Remus Lupin also
retrieved his ball, a plain, black alley ball like Peter’s.
“Ladies first,” Remus said
Narcissa rolled her ball and hit
seven pins. But she looked down at her right hand and scowled.
“Drat!” she pouted. “I broke a
nail! I just had them done, too. That’s five Sickles, wasted!”
Remus went next, and knocked down
eight pins. He hit the remaining two on his next throw, while Narcissa, obviously
handicapped by her ruined manicure, failed to get a single pin on her next
“That’s another spare for Remus!”
Arthur said as Peter made the note on the sheet.
“Now if we can only get you from
bowling spares to bowling strikes,” Sirius said as frowned in Tom’s direction.
“Then between you and Arthur, we might have a chance at actually winning some
“Not a chance,” Lucius said. “Even
with Severus’s ball being drawn to the gutter lane
this evening and Goyle’s talent for breaking pins
rather than just knocking them over, we are still ahead of you by forty points total.”
“Riddle hasn’t had an open frame
all evening,” Crabbe said as he picked up one of the plain, black alley balls.
“He’s had all strikes and a few spares. Malfoy’s hit pins regular too.”
“I still say he’s cheating,”
Tom laughed. “You’re just jealous
because I’m the best bowler here. No one can touch me!”
The other wizards turned to see an
older wizard with a long white beard and half-moon spectacles perched on a
long, crooked nose. His light blue eyes twinkled merrily as he adjusted his
blue and gold robe, with the words “The 300 Club” embroidered in white just
over the heart. Tom scowled and turned away.
“Dumbledore!” Remus said, and he
grinned broadly at the older wizard. “Have you come to play a game or two?”
“Just finished, actually,”
Dumbledore replied. “I’m on my way to meet with Dodge, Vance and McGonagall
next door at the Leaky Cauldron. Care to join us when you are finished?”
and Weasleys shook their heads, saying they had
children to attend to soon, but Sirius, Remus and Peter readily agreed. Severus
looked as if he were going to say something when the brown-haired woman in lacy
pink robes ran down the stairs and threw her arms around him.
“Hey!” Severus protested. “No
spectators allowed…mrph!” Whatever else he was going
to say was cut off by an enthusiastic kiss.
“We can go together!” the girl
squealed. Her friends cheered and giggled with delight while Severus merely
scowled and tried to brush the smears of bright red lipstick from his mouth.
Tom didn’t say anything. He merely
picked up his ball, stone-faced, and waited for Crabbe to finish his second
“What’s your score this game,
Tom?” Dumbledore said.
“Solid strikes, so far,” Tom said
evenly as Crabbe walked by. Tom took his position. “One of these years, I’m
going to beat even your high average, Dumbledore.”
good-naturedly. “Perhaps,” he said. “But not with your foot position like that.
Both toes should be pointed…”
Tom scowled as he stepped forward
and threw the ball, a sliver-colored one with a snake twisting to form a green
“R” on the one side. The ball stayed towards the center, but swerved left at
the last minute, so three pins were left standing.
“You hooked your wrist a bit at
the last moment,” Dumbledore called down. “Remember, you have to keep your
Tom glowered as he waited for his
ball to Apparate on the trough. “I know how to bowl,
“Just trying to help,” Dumbledore
said amiably. “But you are still a bit stiff in the approach. Loosen up a bit.”
Tom’s ball appeared, and the
wizards scooped it up and approached his lane. He stared at the remaining three
pins, as if he were looking at a loathed enemy. He stepped forward, swung his
arm back, and started to throw the ball forward…
“Oh, and Tom?”
Tom staggered a bit, and his ball,
like a silver comet, streaked a short ways down the alley and landed with a
thump in the gutter lane. The goblins were rolling on the alley and slapping
their stubby hands on the wood in mirth. Lucius stared, his eyes wide and his
jaw dropped. Crabbe and Goyle, now munching on chips and taking large swigs of
something other than butterbeer, did not seem to
notice what just happened. Narcissa’s mouth made a
small “O” of astonishment. Tonks was holding on to
Sirius and laughing hysterically, and Arthur and Molly were trying not to laugh
and failing miserably. Peter fell out of his chair from laughter, and Remus’
narrow shoulders shook with mirth.
“Some things never change,” Remus
said as he glanced between Dumbledore and Tom Riddle.
Tom glared at Dumbledore, who
stared back unperturbed.
“What was it that time?” Tom
growled out. “My thumb cocked at the wrong angle?”
“No,” Dumbledore said. “I merely
wanted to point out to you that your shoes were untied.”