1996-02-23A: Chess 101

Participants:

Maura_icon.gif Siobhan_icon.gif Snape_icon.gif

Scene Title Chess 101
Synopsis Severus begins to teach Sio chess. Maura watches for a while.
Location Hogwarts: Hospital Wing
Date Feb 23, 1996
Watch For The name game.
Logger Professor Snape

Three days, two transfusions and some incredibly precise brewing later, Siobhan Noble is curled up on one of the Hospital Wing's beds situated in a private back corner with the curtains drawn around it. It's the quiet time between the actual serving of dinner and the break that comes after it. On a Friday night, the Hospital Wing will start to see its share of bored kids looking for excitement and an excuse to put off writing that Transfiguration essay a bit longer, but that's still a couple of minutes away. For now, the young professor takes shameless advantage of the quiet to doze lightly.

"Really Pomfrey, I swear… I'm fine." Maura promises, not just swearing but also averring and affirming and whatever else she has to do. She no longer even has a sore throat. "If I have to spend another day being the injured rather then the healer, I'm going to have to choke a bitch." There's an awkward pause, and a clearing of her throat. "Wait, it wasn't really me saying that!!" she calls after a retreating back, swearing even more now under her breath and removing the tag that marked her a patient herself. Forget this!

Severus' last class is over, and he returns to where he feels he belongs: the hospital wing. He strides over to the chair by Siobhan's bed, seating himself in it as quietly as possible. He sends out a soft pulse of magic to make her aware of his presence, but otherwise remains silent. When Maura speaks, he turns toward her and frowns. "Miss Maura. Could you perhaps complain a little more softly?" The language amuses him a little, but please. Don't wake his girl.

"Too late." The voice from the bed is still groggy from sleep, but not quite as cranky as the usual Early Morning Siobhan. Her own sunshine magic returns the greeting. It's filtered light, like the sun through a heavy cloud cover, but it's stronger than it was only a few days ago. Floating in and out of consciousness to let the potions and spells do their job has so far kept Sio blissfully ignorant of the particular … malady from which her friend suffers. Rolling to her back, she tilts her head toward Sev, managing a sleepy kind of smile. "Hi." There's a languid stretch then, the motion making her wince a little as achy joints and stiff muscles make their displeasure at her recent activities known. "Who's Poppy tormenting this time?" Because there's no way in hell that came out of her sweet, slow-speaking Maura.

"No, I'm afraid I cannot. I'm quite sorry Professor Snape. You could perhaps take it up with Ducky and his assistant, since they gave me the wrong amulet. But, we're all stuck with each other now. And since my cane is in my room, not here, I cannot take it off yet." Maura explains, in as even a tone as possible, being careful where she treads yet not exactly holding back either. "Of course, if I hadn't been forced to get checked out, I could have just slept this all off in my room like I wanted and avoided this scene altogether. A shame, really." she sighs. "At any rate, other then earplugs for your beloved - is there something I can get you while I'm up and about?" And since Siobhan asked, she sees hit to answer. "It's me, Sio. Maura."

"I am sorry, my dear." Severus wanted Sio to get a lot more sleep if she possibly could, but since she's awake, he apologizes. "It is indeed Miss Maura." He will confirm what Maura has already said. "I had not heard the specifics of your amulet." He frowns, wondering about the possibilites of the situation. It's also a half-apology. "Madame Pomfrey is very specific about letting individuals out of her care. Take the time usually needed to recover, double it, and add one day." His tone is very droll. He's used to her coddling himself. "Are you feeling any better, Siobhan?"

"I feel like death warmed over with last night's curry," is the grumbled response. "Being as I'm not dead and no longer look like last night's curry, I'd say that's probably an improvement, yeah." Y'know, innards being on the inside and all that. There's something tense about Siobhan, on edge. When Maura pops in, Siobhan makes a genuine effort to sit up against the pillows. Weak limbs aren't coordinated so well, but she manages. "You can't say she's not thorough. At least you didn't have to swallow that rotting pond wate - " She stops mid-grumble and tilts her head to one side, turning to stare at her mate with a creased brow. "Did you just use her first name?"

"I wish I knew specifics." Maura admits, scrubbing her forehead. "Jack seemed to think there was some sort of spirit there, but not malevolent. Obviously, however, it's not very innocent." she decides. "And it makes me irritable, and… rude, when I cannot control it. I apologize." That does apparently seem to be Pomfrey's recovery regimen and it makes the girl grimace. Siobhan, however, receives the full wattage of her smile. "I am so happy to see you. You've no idea. Anything I can get you, anything… I will. Just ask." she assures, suddenly far more her earnest self. "I.. well. I do not remember my last name. So, …" she glances at Snape.

"Memory cases are very tricky, requiring careful attention." Severus gives Siobhan an annoyed look. He'd really rather use her surname, but with this situation, he can't. Having settled that, he hopes, he turns to how she is. "You are alive, which is a pleasant surprise." He looks at Sio, and then over at Maura. "You as well. There are not many who would have endured half so well." Yes, he's giving a compliment. Take it while it's offered. Probably won't be long. "I do not believe I recognize it." That is something. He's been in a lot of the darker homes. "Perhaps it is merely as Icarus has suggested." He frowns, and turns his attention back to Siobhan. "Do you need anything in particular?"

Siobhan opens her mouth to point out that while Maura doesn't remember, if she went to Hogwarts then - oh. She gets the point he's making, but it still has her pulling a face at him. "Maura, sweetling, you have no idea how much of a headache you've been spared." It took her five months and a helluva shag before she got anything but 'Miss Noble' on a semi-regular basis, okay? Be thankful! Silver linings and all that. Even so, the smile she has for her friend is warm, if not full of its usual bounce. "Just don't let that old harpy force feed me anything and we'll call it even, yeah?" She's joking, mostly, but the queasiness in her stomach definitely doesn't bode well for food just now. Sev gets a smaller - almost shy - smile. "No, I'm fine." There's a swirl of muted sunshine to back up the assertion, even. "In fact, unless I've been completely potion-addled, I believe you were going to teach me to play chess if I took a nap after you left earlier." Which she so did. "Wait. Jack?" And here Sio was hoping she would be able to ease her sweet-natured friend into her family nutters. "I'm sorry. He's harmless, really, but if he gets to be too much you can hex him."

Maura will take the compliment, and tuck it away somewhere in the back of her mind where she can remember it whenever it's needed. A briefly surprised and grateful smile appears for Snape at that, and she ducks her head a moment. "Oh! I'll get the chess set!" she offers, about to turn and scurry out to run that errand; she really did mean she'd do anything. But she's stopped in her tracks by Sio's apology on behalf of her brother. "I'll remember that." she agrees, with a wry smile. "But as he seems one of the few people never taken aback by the things I say with this thing on.." she lifts the amulet and drops it again. "… in fact, he seems to get a kick out of it." Praying Sio doesn't ask for specifics, she battles the bit of red creeping up into her face. "Well, anyway. I feel rather at ease with him, given the situation. Is there something I should be looking out for? Does he have some weird shoe fetish or something?" No wait, she shouldn't be asking these things! So, she flees to get a chess set and return.

"That seems to fit type," Severus drawls at Maura's assertion of Jack liking her comments. He snorts, considering what he knows already. He also rolls his eyes at Siobhan's comments on how he referred to her. "I refer to almost everyone by their surnames." The Heads of House are a rare exception. "When there are enough of you around, Miss Noble," yes, that is just to irk her, "I must refer to you with your given name, especially your family and the Weasleys." He says that last name as though pronouncing the word itself causes his lips pain. When Maura scurries off to get the chess set, he snorts again. "I believe she is grateful enough for the opportunity to do anything that she is willing to be excessively helpful. Her … amulet-partner may help cure her of that before too long." He can see whoever comes up with the things she says would not want her running around doing menial errands. "I did promise to teach you. Would you like me to explain the pieces now, or would you prefer to wait until you can hold them in your hands?"

"That … sounds like Jack alright." The question about the shoe fetish makes her eyes go a bit crossed - that's how hard she's trying not to visualize that thought. Sev's barb does ruffle feathers, but Siobhan proscribes to the ancient and noble Slytherin maxim: Don't get mad, get even. "If you're going to be childish about it, at least get it right, Professor Snape." Prim and proper. She even sniffs delicately! Her mother would be proud. What her mother would be scandalized about, however, is the level to which she stoops for retaliation. Waiting until she can hear Maura's footsteps headed back their way, she braces her forearm against the bedside table and leans forward, a wicked glint in her eye as she brings her mouth close enough to his ear to drop to a whisper. "When there are few enough of them around, Professor," she breathes, deliberately playing on his word order and almost purring the title. "You'll come to regret choosing that form of address… It's an awful big mouthful to scream." Oh look! There's Maura with the game. Leaning back to rest against her pillows with an expression that personifies The Cat Who Got the Cream, Siobhan beckons to her friend. "Thank you ever so much, my dear. Have you ever played chess? Do be a dear and tell me what all the pieces do? I think Severus might need a moment."

Maura just looks confused! She has no idea about Jack's reputation. Undoubtedly, someone will find a nasty way to fill her in one of these days if she doesn't hear it from the man himself or Sio. Until then, ignorance. Which in this case may surely be bliss. Otherwise, she would never come out of her room. As it is, her brow will furrow some, but not enough to cause concern as she leaves long enough to get the chess set and return. Still ignorant! And therefore, not broken. "You're welcome!" And she hadn't actually thought about whether she even knew how to play chess before. But she takes a minute to look at the set wonderingly. "I think so. Let's find out. did you need something to drink first, Professor Snape?"

Gulp. Severus was prepared for retaliation, but he had forgotten that the basic nature of their relationship had changed enough to make the retaliation even that more … strong. He works his jaw, attempting to calm completely down. "I believe I shall be fine, thank you." He nods, shifting in his chair, and reaches out for the game. "I shall give you the white pieces. The most common piece is the pawn; they comprise the front row." He continues explaining each piece, waiting either to be handed the game or for Siobhan to set out the board in the order he explains. "If you do not know how to play, you are welcome to watch and pick up what you can, Miss Maura." The other thing he'll ignore completely for now. When she's better, however, there may be a tiny bit of retribution. It's what makes their relationship fun, and it works.

Siobhan is well aware that this game isn't anywhere near to being over. She'd be disappointed if it was. All she's happy about is that she won this round. She'll make him learn not to 'Miss Noble' her like a child if it's the last thing she ever does! For now, however, she's content to set up the board as Severus explains the name and uses of each piece. Thankfully this is one of those 'charmed to hover' boards, so she can leave it in the air between them and not worry about trying to balance a board full of small marble bits on her unsteady lap. "So a bit like primitive Risk, then. Okay, I can handle that." Or so she thinks.

Maura glances between the two, her expression shifting to one that suggests she may bolt soon. She's unused to watching this sort of closeness really. As entertaining as it is. And for a few moments there's silence from her chair, eyes studying the board, the placement, and the information about the pieces.

"Risk?" He vaguely remembers a few friends playing that game at some point in his life. However, he's unsure how it applies here, since he never played himself. "Perhaps it is similar." Severus doesn't really want to admit he doesn't know. "When one plays, one can either move the pieces manually, or because they are magical, calling out the move also works." He demonstrates by moving his 'King's Knight', then putting it back in place. "Each piece has a limited scope, much like the politicians and powerful men they represent." He has always been fascinated by the historical and political implications of the board, even when he felt like a pawn on someone's giant chessboard himself. "White moves first, so you may take your turn."

Siobhan blinks at the board for a moment, puzzled. "How're you supposed to know where to start when everyone's got the same pieces and the squares are all the same?" There's no angle to it. Lifting the pawn in front of her King piece, Siobhan slides it one square forward and then pulls her fingers away with a shrug. At least she moved a piece. A sideways glance at Maura to see if she has some secret insight into this has Siobhan catching the wary expression. "Maura, you okay?" She'll peer a bit closer at her friend. "What's wrong?"

Speaking of pawns… perhaps seeing all of those pawns neatly lined up like little sacrifices is what suddenly makes Maura twitch a little. But her smile remains steadily in place nonetheless. "I… oh. I'm alright. I just. I haven't seen … I'm not used to… Unable to find the words for it, the girl just shrugs. "Spend a year in a dungeon and everything seems a little weird, that's all. But maybe I should give the two of you some time alone anyway. It's nice to see you together." she decides, pushing up from her chair. "And I'll see you again tomorrow. Maybe with some real food I can sneak past Pomfrey, eh?"

"There are various opening gambits. It is a matter of trial, error, and patience." He moves a pawn himself, one in front of his knight. "It speaks more to the player than to the board itself. Upon this board, there are myriad possibilities of win and loss." Much like their life sometimes. Severus looks up and frowns. "Do not feel that you must leave because we are playing chess, Miss Maura." He looks at the board again, considering options, permutations and variations.

Siobhan frowns at the sudden change, but she doesn't argue. "Alright, M. I'll see you tomorrow." There's a soft smile that goes with it, one of a little understanding. There were whole days after coming free from her painting where Siobhan didn't leave her bed, forget her room. Her attention is drawn back to Severus and their game with a puzzled frown. "But if the board and the pieces are all the same, how does anyone know how to move their pieces to their greatest advantage?"

Maura gives Severus a smile of rare affection. Rare in that it's entirely possible not many people glance at him in such a way. But, being as he was so kind to her when she most needed it, he may well find himself in the role of a father figure whether he wants it or not. Which is the sort of glance he gets. "No, no. It's quite alright." she returns Siobhan's smile then, and pads out of the infirmary quietly.


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