“Severus Snape,” the Professor from House of Gryffindor, was a complete surprise to Matthew.
Contrary to his expectations, Professor Snape possessed a good temperament and rarely displayed anger, even in the presence of students who made mistakes.
His enthusiasm for people was also noteworthy; he interacted warmly with students, colleagues, and even ghosts.
On the academic front, some of his perspectives were rather “radical,” occasionally venturing into risky territories.
In many ways, this version of “Severus Snape” starkly contrasted Matthew’s memory of him.
“Do you need anything else, Mr. Wickfield?” Professor Snape inquired gently as he locked the door. “Or do you seem quite troubled? Can I be of assistance?”
“No… it’s alright,” Matthew hurriedly shook his head and explained, “I apologize, sir. I’m just lost in thought.”
“That’s alright,” Professor Snape smiled, patting Matthew on the shoulder. “The Transfiguration you performed in class was impressive. Achieving it on the first attempt is quite commendable.”
“You’re being too kind, Professor Snape,” Matthew replied modestly.
“No, I’m not exaggerating. I’ve heard from a friend that you’re quite talented in Transfiguration,” Professor Snape said, shaking his head in encouragement. “Keep up the good work. See you in the next class.”
“Goodbye, Professor,” Matthew waved his hand.
As Professor Snape departed, Matthew pondered over who the “friend” Professor Snape had mentioned could be.
With two morning classes and a physical activity session in between, Matthew’s stomach was growling from hunger. Rushing to the auditorium, he discovered that lunch was already underway.
The lunch spread on the first day of school was abundant, featuring piles of pork chops, beef, and sizable curved sausages.
It seemed as if the kitchen House-elves were welcoming the students’ return.
While devouring a hefty pork chop, Matthew noticed Draco, Theodore, and Vincent on the other side, engrossed in discussion.
“Draco?” Matthew called out, “What’s going on?”
Upon hearing Matthew’s voice, Draco quickly approached, holding a piece of parchment in his hand. Theodore, Vincent, and Gregory joined them.
“Hogwarts clubs are open to second-year students and above,” Draco Malfoy explained, “Matthew, any clubs catching your interest?”
“Clubs…” Matthew’s tone became more subdued.
Based on his prior university experience, he hadn’t been particularly interested in such organizations.
He inquired softly, “What options are available?”
“There’s a variety of clubs. Some are large with hundreds of members, while others are smaller with only a few,” Malfoy explained, “The more renowned ones include the Quidditch club, the Gobstone fan club, and the Muggle Culture Research Group. The choices are quite diverse.”
“Can I opt out?” Matthew asked calmly.
“No.” Theodore Knott interjected, “As per the regulations, second-year students must join at least one club. However, it’s not obligatory for third-year students and above.”
“I see…” Matthew’s brow slightly furrowed. He inquired softly, “What have you all signed up for?”
“Draco and I have enrolled in the Quidditch club and the dueling club,” Theodore continued, “The others are still contemplating.”
“What’s the dueling club about?” Matthew suddenly became intrigued.
“They teach us various aspects related to dueling and usually have a teacher present,” Theodore enthusiastically explained, “Why not join, Matthew? The dueling club is quite popular at Hogwarts.”
“It sounds beneficial,” Matthew nodded in approval, “Which teacher will be in charge? Hopefully not, Professor Rosier. I’d be too apprehensive to join.”
She was known for her strict demeanor, a club like dueling would fall under her domain of expertise.
“Definitely not. Professor Rosier is extremely busy,” Theodore smiled, “It was Professor Flitwick last year, and it’s likely to be him this year.”
“Then sign me up too!” Matthew decided without hesitation. “I’m interested in that one.”
“No problem!” Theodore swiftly jotted down Matthew’s name on the parchment.
Draco added, “The dueling club meets every Sunday afternoon, so it doesn’t clash with Professor Slughorn’s banquets.”
“Alright, thank you, Draco!”
As Matthew continued his lunch, he contemplated:
Every second Saturday of even weeks was reserved for after-school practices.
Adding the Sunday afternoon dueling club and Sunday evening Slug Club events, his weekends seemed to vanish rapidly.
Monday afternoons were free for Slytherin students, so Matthew initially considered visiting the library.
However, he decided to return to the Slytherin common room first.
With no one else in the dormitory, Matthew ignored what his roommates were doing.
He sat in a soft armchair. After hesitating, Matthew opened his desk drawer, and there it was—a familiar sight.
The yellowed pages and antiquated cover of the book lay quietly within the drawer.
It hadn’t moved in half a year.
Matthew had assumed the book would follow him over the summer break after leaving Hogwarts.
Yet, it seemed to have vanished during his visits to Flourish & Blotts Bookstore’s basement and Room 13 of the Leaky Cauldron.
As if it had lost its magical connection.
Of course, this was ultimately a good thing; no one wants an item following them around like a ghost.
Matthew felt at ease with no one around, pulling the book entirely from the drawer.
As he turned the pages, he dipped a quill into ink and wrote:
“Long time no see!”
The words quickly vanished.
Within seconds, dark green handwriting in a very familiar script appeared on the page:
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