[Severus finishes marking an essay and raises his wand, the door opening quietly.
Tea and biscuits have already been prepared, set on a small table near the fireplace. Although it is early for a fire, the house elves have built a small one to disperse the chill of the always cool dungeons.
He places the parchment he had been grading to the side and stands]
You may come in.
[Blaise steps into Severus' office, smiling slightly at him.] Thank you. [He stops in the area dividing the work space from the fireside area, waiting for Severus to join him.]
[Severus makes his way to Blaise's side, offering a small nod in recognition as he sits down in one of the armchairs facing the fire, pouring tea for them both and pushing the biscuits closer to Blaise]
I trust you are well?
[Blaise sits in his chair, almost sideway so that he can look at Severus without having to worry about getting a crick in his neck.
He accepts the tea with a small nod of thanks, tone wry as he says,] As well as can be expected. [He passes a hand over his face,] I'm healing.
[Severus nods thoughtfully, sipping his tea]
Madam Pomfrey's care was sufficient, then?
As always, [Blaise murmurs, blowing on his tea before taking a cautionary sip. Softly, without inflection,] How were your holidays?
[Softly, amused] Is that what they're called? [Severus sits back and stares into the fire] They were... tolerable, at best. Although the term 'holiday' is not one I would use. More like 'gauntlet', perhaps.
[Blaise nods, watching the firelight play over Severus' features.] I've often found the term laughable myself. But you are. well?
[Severus inclines his head]
I did manage to survive with my wit and bitterness intact, despite repeated attempts by the headmaster to cheer me up. Fortunately, I am no longer his only target, and thus received a minimum of his attention.
[He strokes the side of his cup unconsciously as he ponders his next words]
I find it difficult to be enclosed in these walls this year. There is far too much that I could be achieving, if it were not for... previous obligations.
[Blaise smiles, though it's not necessarily a happy expresion.] That's always good to hear, I don't know as how these teas would be so enjoyable without your wit and bitterness. [He nods though, face smoothing out as he acknowledges Severus' later words.] I feel rather trapped myself. Like it's hard to remember what open air feels like.
[Severus sips his tea]
I suppose you would simply have to find someone else to share tea with, were I so indisposed.
[He sets his cup of tea on the small table between them and looks at Blaise. His voice is dispassionate as he continues]
If you feel trapped inside of Hogwarts, why did you return?
[Blaise actually laughs at that, though at which part not even he is sure.] I'd start taking tea by myself, if it's all the same to you. And. Being here is a million times better than being. home. [His mouth twisting on the word.]
You could always take your company in the kitchen; I hear there are students there at all hours. Albus, of course, has forbidden me to chase them away, so you would be quite safe from censure.
[He smirks] And the way you say home is the way I say Harry Potter. Is there anything in particular you'd like to share?
Ah, but it's the students I fear, not the censure.
[He pauses, looking down into his tea,] And this summer was. much like every other summer that has come before.
[Severus arches an eyebrow]