The Sugar Quill
Author: ProfessorWannaBe  Story: The Boy Who Didn't Laugh  Chapter: Default
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Snape Rare Pairings thread at BM

[Author’s Note:  I’m always grateful to JKR for the fabulous world she’s created, not to mention the multitude of marvelous characters. I’m especially intrigued by the minor characters.  She gave them names; I hope I gave them a beautiful afternoon to share.


A poster at asked for a positive story for this snippet of Snape’s memory – I obliged.  Thanks to my usual pre-readers and to Suburban House Elf for her sharp eye!]



            Merlin, it was good to get out of the house!  It wasn’t an overly warm day but there were far too many people packed into the lounge.  Too many of them were full of hot air, not shy about filling the room with their pigheaded opinions either.  Alphard scolded himself for even coming—he should have been suspicious about the short notice for this so-called family gathering.


            Not all the guests were family.  One stranger in particular made the hairs on the back of Alphard’s neck stand up.  He hadn’t caught the name but the man’s opinions were as strident as the Blacks’ and as well articulated as the Malfoys’.  His plan to overhaul the Ministry of Magic in favor of the pure-blood families that were in attendance was apparently the real reason for this get-together.  Alphard could name a dozen half-bloods and another dozen Muggle-borns who were far better wizards than the blowhards sitting in that lounge.  It was much better to be out here enjoying a fine summer’s day watching the children play. 


The fair weather had relieved the stuffy house of an enormous number of children.  There was a game of wizard’s chess taking place under the elm tree at the corner of the house along with quite a few spectators, Gobstones were set up near the potting shed and a pick-up game of Quidditch was taking place over a field ringed with tall pines to block the view of the Muggle highway.  Alphard wasn’t the only adult to forsake the political conversations and stifling confines of the house.  Several witches were seated in the shade of the elm watching a gaggle of little ones while they gossiped with one another.  He waved as he took a seat on the steps to watch the distant Quidditch match.


            Although the game did not appear to be over, one player left the makeshift pitch and flew in Alphard’s direction.  He recognized the flyer before she landed several paces in front of him.  Actually, he had guessed it was Andromeda as soon as she had turned away from the pitch due to the jerky motion of the broom.  Her broom had been damaged in a match last summer but she had refused her parents’ offer to replace it in spite of the repair shop’s warning that it would never be the same.


            “Are they done yet?  I’m starving!” she exclaimed the moment her feet touched the ground.


            “Sorry, poppet,” he replied as she came to sit beside him.  “I’ve just come out for some air.  They’re still at it.”




            Alphard chuckled, “Well said!” and he patted her knee.


            They sat quietly watching the game for a while before Alphard’s attention wandered back to the groups of children closer to his improvised grandstand.  Many of them were directly related and most of the others he knew by name or, at least, by their parents’ names but a few of them were absolute strangers.  He was particularly intrigued by a scrawny, black-haired boy who was sitting alone as far from the Gobstones game as he could get and still be in the shade of the potting shed.


            “Do you know who that is?” he asked after nudging Andromeda and jerking his chin in the boy’s direction.


            Dunno,” she replied with a shrug.  After a few minutes, she added, “He looks miserable just sitting there all alone,” before she stood and strode across the grass to introduce herself.


            Alphard smiled.  He could always count on Andromeda to look out for the loners.  They were too far away for him to hear the conversation but it wasn’t difficult to understand the gist of it.  She offered to get him into one of the games, suggested walking over to the pitch for a better view and finally got a positive response when she offered her broom.  Alphard wasn’t sure that was such a good idea but it did get the boy to stand up and follow her into the sunshine which he obviously didn’t get enough of.


            She was evidently giving him some instructions and pointing out the boundaries.  Almost as soon as the boy laid his hand on the broom, it began bucking around as if it was offended to have a stranger ride it.  Alphard could hear Andromeda’s amusement but not whatever response the boy made—although it was easy enough to tell that it hadn’t been nice by the abrupt ending to her laugh.  She had already turned her back on the boy when he finally mounted the broom to slowly, carefully and jerkily make his way around the cornfield pitch.


            “What an idiot!” she exclaimed as she dropped onto the step beside Alphard once again.  “I told him not to grab hold too tightly because of the damaged stabilizers.”


            “I don’t think he appreciated you laughing at him though.”


            “I wasn’t laughing at him.  I was supposed to be laughing with him but apparently he doesn’t know how.”


            “Some people don’t, poppet.  Did you find out his name?”


            Severn or something.  He kind of mumbled it.”


            Andromeda was spared from any further contact with the boy by a call from her mother to come help lay out the food.  In the ensuing hurly-burly, Alphard lost track of the fellow and never saw him again.  The broom, however, was found that evening leaning against the potting shed.




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