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.
poster at BewitchedMind.net 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
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
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
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
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.
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.
done yet? I’m starving!” she exclaimed
the moment her feet touched the ground.
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.
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.
know who that is?” he asked after nudging Andromeda and jerking his chin in the
“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.
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.”
think he appreciated you laughing at him though.”
laughing at him. I was supposed to be
laughing with him but apparently he doesn’t know how.”
people don’t, poppet. Did you find out
“Severn or something. He kind of mumbled it.”
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