"Explain to me again why we are doing this?"

"Oh, honestly, Sev. You're not that dense. Stop being such a bastard."

Harry positioned the board on the small table between the chairs, and began setting up the game.

"I promise you, you'll like it. Besides, you wanted to know more about what I teach all day. Here's your chance."

"A game?"

"A very popular game. Muggles have been playing it for decades." Harry placed each of the tiny weapons randomly across the board and began shuffling the cards.

"And they do not grow bored of it? How typical."

Harry rolled his eyes. "Trust me," he said. Harry finished shuffling the cards and placed three, one out of each of the three piles he had made, into a small brown envelope. Mixing the rest together thoroughly, he dealt the remaining cards between them.

"Do you remember the rules?"

"Yes, yes. They were simplistic in the extreme."

Harry shrugged. "There's actually a bit of strategy involved," he insisted.

Severus huffed in amusement. "If you insist."

Harry clapped his hands together gleefully when the game was set up. Shrugging out of his teaching robes, he took a quick swallow of his brandy and smiled at his lover.

"You go first," he said.


"You're Ms. Scarlet. Ms. Scarlet always goes first."

"I am NOT Ms. Scarlet."

"She's the closest piece to you on the board. That's the way the game works."

"You did that on purpose!"

Harry smirked.

"I refuse to be Ms. Scarlet."

Harry groaned and rolled his eyes again. He threw himself back in his chair and covered his face with his hands. "Fine. Who do you want to be?"

"Who's black?"

"Nobody's black."


"Nobody's black. There's yellow, red, purple, green, white, and blue."

Severus sneered at the board. "Very well, " he hissed. "I will be green."

Harry shook his head and switched Ms. Scarlet for Mr. Green.

"Who are you?" Severus asked.

"I'm Professor Plum."

"How fitting."

Harry groaned. "Can we just start the game, please?"

Severus sighed, resigned to his fate. He, too, shed his teaching robes and gulped his brandy. "Yes."

"What the…?" Severus glared at Harry with narrow eyes. "You can't do that!"

"What do you mean? Of course I can."

"That room is on the complete opposite end of the board. You can't just fly over there!" He emphasized his statement with a flutter of his hand.

Harry smiled smugly. "I used the secret passage."

"The…?" Severus growled as he squinted at the game board. He glanced suspiciously back at his opponent. "NOW what are you doing?"

Harry's tongue peaked endearingly out of the corner of his mouth while he scribbled on his pad. "I'm taking notes," he replied.

"For seven years you failed to take adequate notes in class. What makes you think that particular skill will save you now?"

Harry grinned over his notepad.

Severus turned back to the board with a low snarl.

"Severus, the secret passage is only for the four rooms at the corners of the board."

"I apparated."

"I'm going to make a Suggestion," Harry announced.

"We stop this foolishness and go to bed?" Severus ventured.

Harry ignored him. "Professor Plum, in the library, with the candlestick."

Severus stared across the table a full minute before answering. "You're going to suggest that you committed the murder? Wouldn't you know if you committed the murder?"

Harry grinned at his lover. "Have you been paying attention at all, Sev?"

"Of course!"

"Well, can you disprove my Suggestion?"

Severus stared hard at Harry, searching for…well, a clue.

"Are you bluffing?" he asked.

If possible, Harry's grin grew wider. "This isn't poker, Sev. Just answer the question."

"What if I don't want to?"

Harry groaned. "You're compelled to. It's a rule."

Severus thought, briefly, about lying. "No," he finally answered, lip curling.

"'No,' you won't answer or 'no' you can't disprove it?"

"No," Severus spoke through barred teeth. "I can't disprove it."

Harry hooted with glee. "Brilliant! In that case, I want to make an Accusation."

Severus groaned in actual pain. "For the love of…."

"Mr. Green, in the Conservatory, with the knife," Harry practically sang.

"Can we go to bed now?"

"No! We have to find out if I'm right," Harry replied, indignant.

"You're right."


"You're right. I figured it out a dozen turns ago."

Harry stared flabbergasted at his smirking lover.

"Are you actually speechless? Quickly, the record book!" Severus, unable to contain himself anymore, laughed openly.

Harry's gaze turned calculating. "Why did you continue playing if you knew the answer, and you think the game's stupid?"

"The game is stupid, but watching you take notes and make 'suggestions' is about the sexiest thing I've ever seen." Severus said as he finished his brandy. He slammed his glass down on the table and rose with a flourish. "Now can we go to bed?"

"What if I want to play again? See if I can beat you?" Harry said petulantly.

Severus stalked to his lover, reaching him in two strides. "We'll play in the bedroom."

He scooped Harry into his arms and started across the room. "Of course, that's probably not fair, either, since I already know how it will end."

"Really?" Harry laughed as he clung to Severus's neck for support. "And how is that?"

"Easy. Professor Potter, in the bedroom, with the rope."

Harry blanched. "The rope?"

Severus just grinned and strode toward the bedroom.


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