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Southern Comfort by Muse2488
Chapter 15: The Quidditch Cup and Serious Injuries
I wasn't a hundred percent sure if everything was really back to normal. The big fight/make up session on the Quidditch pitch had been three weeks ago and things seemed much better but were still slightly strained. The three Potters were talking again but they treaded lightly with one another. James and Al were trying their hardest to not be so overprotective of Lily when she was with Delton but we could all tell they were struggling with it. Lily was trying to control her temper with her big brothers but was also struggling with it. But at least they were talking right?
Spring was on its way and with that came the Quidditch cup. And guess who's in it? That's right Gryffindor baby! We won against Hufflepuff again which took them out of the running and Slytherin slaughtered Ravenclaw two weeks ago which took Ravenclaw out of the running as well. Leaving Gryffindor vs Slytherin for the big finale. I'm super nervous but also excited. I've never been in a championship game before which excited me greatly. However, the last few games with Slytherin has left a bad taste in my mouth when I think about them. Last game the beater from Slytherin had bewitched Freddie's broom and almost threw him off before Teddy caught it and fixed it. And of course our very first game with them they had almost killed me. Our games with Slytherin have always been down right viscous, which has led me to be very apprehensive of the entire house. So far there's just been a lot of trash talking but that doesn't mean they haven't been trying or plotting something worse. And of course because of what happened during our first game I was no longer allowed to roam the halls by myself, I constantly had a friggin' body guard...and it was annoying as hell. Most of the time it was James, which wouldn't bother me if it weren't for the fact that he whips out his wand every time he hears any kind of noise. And when Starlene is playing the roll of babysitter she regales the tales of her and Freddie's escapades...very, very loudly.
Insert terrible and unwanted image here.
I know they're just trying to protect me and take care of me, but it was seriously getting annoying. But the big match is on Saturday and after that I won't have to worry about it. Practices were everyday now, twice a day and James was even more of a tyrant than ever. It's his last year of course and he wants to win more than anything in the world and I want it for him. We all did. So there was very little complaining and we were all working as hard as we could. Luckily he was giving us today off since it's Thursday and he wants a final run of all the plays on Friday. So Dom, Starlene, Roxanne and I were by the lake, relaxing after classes and trying small spells without speaking them out. We were passing a small pink flower back and forth to one another when we heard James and Freddie coming our way.
"Do they ever leave us be?" Dom asked with a sigh.
"Oh hush, he just misses me is all." Starlene said with a wink to us. Dom rolled her eyes and I laughed.
"Speaking of missing people, I'm off to find Ashton. We're supposed to do our Ancient Runes homework together." Roxanne said and got up, waving to us and then James and Freddie.
"Hello beautiful." Freddie said as he sat down next to Starlene.
"Well hello to you too handsome." Starlene replied and kissed Freddie. Dom made gagging noises and James and I laughed.
"So what brings you lot here?" Starlene asked.
"Bored." James answered with a shrug while settling next to me.
"Finished your homework?" I asked and James groaned. "You're gonna get another detention."
"Nah, Professor Longbottom loves me too much." James replied with a smirk.
"Not if you get another detention! Remember what McGonagall said? One more and you're out of the final." I said.
"You worry too much American, I've got my homework sorted."
"Why don't I believe you?"
"Because you're an intelligent woman Paislee." Dom murmured in reply.
"That hurts Dom, that really hurts." James replied with mock sorrow.
"Oh sod off you prat." Dom said with a grin.
"Anyone try anything on our dear little American?" Freddie asked with a wicked grin. The really sucky thing about being babysat is that Freddie found it absolutely hilarious and has been teasing me non-stop all week about it.
"I hate you." I told him.
Freddie laughed, "Oh I highly doubt that Paislee, I'm simply too adorable."
"Starlene's opinion about you doesn't count, she's biased." I retorted.
"Oi! I am not biased. When he's being a git I tell him to stop being a git and when he's being adorable I tell him he's being adorable." Starlene argued.
"Biased." I repeated and James laughed.
"You ready for the match?" Dom asked James.
"As ready as I'll ever be. This is the best team we've had in three years, if we can't do it then we never will." James replied.
"Agreed mate." Freddie said.
"I for one, can't wait. Slytherin ain't gonna know what hit em'." I said.
"That's the spirit!" James said with a grin at me.
We sat and talked a bit more before finally going inside and eating dinner. Lily and Delton were sitting next to us again, which made me very happy. Al, James, and Freddie had all apologized to Delton about treating him so harshly too. Delton accepted it gracefully and my respect for the younger wizard grew. He really was a great kid. Dom and I were on our way back to the common room to meet Rose, Lily, Roxanne, and Starlene for a little girl time when we were ambushed by two Slytherin boys. I recognized them as two of the Chasers, I didn't know their first names but the tall one's last name was Weatherly and the shorter one's was Flannigan.
"Well well well...look what we have here; the American transfer student and the blonde Weasley. What brings you two birds here?" Weatherly asked. Weatherly was a tall boy with dirty blonde hair that hung in his eyes.
"Sod off Weatherly." Dom replied and tried to walk around him but he stepped in front of her again.
"Is that any way to treat a friend?" Weatherly asked and Flannigan cackled. Flannigan had light brown hair that was almost in a military cut and was slightly shorter than Weatherly.
"Friend? I wouldn't even call you an acquaintance!" Dom said.
"Why don't y'all just walk away before you do something you regret." I told them. Flannigan sneered at me.
"Why don't you just go back to America?" Flannigan countered.
"And miss kicking your butt on Saturday? No way." I retorted.
"You are sadly mistaken if you think we're going to lose you filthy American." Weatherly said.
"Is that supposed to insult me? Please, spare my life." I said with an eye roll. Dom laughed. This must've really ticked them off because before I knew it I was slammed against the wall while Dom was pushed roughly to the side, the two Slytherin's pinning me.
"Get. Off." I said quietly to them. They pressed in closer and I felt one of them reaching for their wand. I was too quick though and blasted a stinging hex at them without uttering a single word. They immediately yelped in pain before reaching for their own wands but I cast a shield charm up and their spells bounced off. Dom was on her feet now and was casting a shield on herself as well. They were firing curses and I could see my shield weakening with each curse, same as Dom. I was too afraid to cast a curse of my own though in case one of theirs made it past my shield. I knew the curses they were using were not duel friendly, let alone legal.
"You stupid bints are going to pay!" Weatherly yelled. My shield was almost gone completely when I heard footsteps.
"OI!" I heard Al yell.
"Al! Careful!" I yelled. Luckily this distracted the two Slytherin's and I was able to whip another curse at them, this time bat bogey hex. They ran then, screaming obscenities at while Dom and I laughed.
"Are you two alright?" Al asked as he ran to us.
"Yeah, we're fine. Just two idiots trying to intimidate us." I said.
"Dom, you were supposed to be watching out for her!" Al chastised his cousin.
"They snuck up on us Al what was I supposed to do?" Dom cried.
"I am not helpless! I'm a fully capable witch thank you very much!" I said.
"Paislee I didn't mean you were incapable or anything, it's just that..." Al trailed off at the death glare I was currently giving him.
"Sorry." Al said with a sheepish expression.
"Apology accepted. Now, we're not going to tell James about this alright? He's got enough to worry about." I said. Dom nodded her agreement while Al looked down right terrified.
"Uh...Paislee...I don't think keeping this from James is such a good idea."
"Well I didn't really ask for your opinion now did I?" I asked.
"He's very persuasive Paislee if he even gets an inkling about what happened he'll weasel it out of me." Al said looking just as terrified, if not more.
"Then keep your big fat mouth shut and we won't have to worry about it now will we? Be strong Al, don't let your big brother bully you." I told him with a smile.
"Yeah Al, be strong. Besides, what's the worst that James can do?" Dom asked with a smile of her own as we turned and walked away, but not before we heard Al mutter,
"Filet me alive."
Friday came and went and before I knew it, it was Saturday. The match was set for ten in the morning and we were all up and eating breakfast by eight. I was nervous and didn't have much of an appetite, but knew I had to eat something so I settled for a banana and some orange juice. The team was pretty silent as we ate. Hugo, Dom, Starlene, Rose, and Roxanne were saying words of encouragement to us and we nodded and grunted in response, totally focused on the upcoming game. James seemed a bit distracted and it made me wonder if Al had cracked and spilled the beans about the other night. I reached over and squeezed James' hand, he looked up from his plate and smiled at me before returning the pressure.
"You ready?" I asked him.
"You better believe it American." He replied.
"You look rather handsome in that uniform." I told him. James smirked of course before running a hand through his hair.
"I know." He replied. I laughed at his response before shaking my head.
"You look rather beautiful in that uniform." He whispered in my ear. Chills shot through me and I couldn't help but smile in return.
"What a sweet talker." I said.
"You ready?" He asked me.
"Of course, who else is gonna show these Brits how to properly play Quidditch?" I asked. James laughed at my response.
"Well lead on then." He replied. We continued the meal in silence and then it was time to head to the pitch. The gang wished us luck as we made our way out of the Great Hall, the whole Gryffindor table bursting into applause as well as most of the Hufflepuff table. Once we made it to the boys locker room James immediately went into his 'before game speech.' But this was going to be his last one and we could all see how hard this was for him.
"Alright team, today's the big day. We've been working hard all year for this moment and now it's time to show everyone what we're made of. We've got the strategy, the brawn, the brains, and the gut to win this game today. I have confidence in each and every single one of you. You all have grown as players and as people and I'm...proud to have been your captain this last year. It's my last time as captain, my last Quidditch match and I couldn't have asked for a better team, for better friends. Thank you for making this the most bloody fantastic year I've ever had." James said, his voice growing thick with emotion.
"Here here!" Freddie exclaimed.
"Wouldn't be here without an excellent captain." Scorpius said with a grin at James.
"Gonna miss you next year big brother." Al told James.
"Me too Al." James replied.
"I'm just happy to have met all of you. It's been such a great experience." I said.
"And where would we be without the cheeky little American?" Freddie asked and everyone laughed as I scowled at him.
"Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go slaughter some Slytherin's!" Lily shouted and we all stood up and started shouting as well. Our warrior like cries deafening in the small locker room. We made our way onto the pitch and immediately the stand burst into shouts and screams and applause. James made his way to the middle of the pitch as well as the Slytherin captain. The rest of us mounted our brooms and got into our respective positions. Madam Hooch made her way to the middle.
"Now, I know we've had some rocky games before but I am expecting a clean match understand? Any shenanigans whatsoever and I'll disqualify the offenders team, do I make myself clear?" Madam Hooch asked. James and Upwood nodded but did not shake hands as was customary. The whistle was blown, the Snitch released, and James was in the air with the Quaffle already.
Hugo was commentating this game and hearing his voice was kinda comforting.
"Potter with the Quaffle, passes to Hayes who scores! 10 to Gryffindor!" Hugo's voice rang out. I smiled widely and Lily gave me a thumbs up before catching the Quaffle and zooming towards the goal post. She tried to pass to me but Weatherly caught it instead and zoomed towards Scorpius.
"Weatherly has the Quaffle now and is moving towards Malfoy. Weatherly charges the Quaffle and it's blocked by Malfoy! Better luck next time Weatherly!" Hugo commented. Weatherly cursed loudly before flipping Hugo off and returning to the rest of his Chasers. Al was way up high looking down, trying his hardest to find the Snitch and end the game early. He had told me the previous night that he was afraid that Slytherin wasn't going to play fair. And of course their track record was pretty filthy.
"Now Hayes has the Quaffle again and looks as if she's about ready to score, but wait! Here comes Potter and she passes to him and Potter scores! 20, nothing Gryffindor!" Hugo boomed. The crowd cheered while sea of green and silver booed. I didn't care though, the game was off to a great start.
We scored another 50 points in the next twenty minutes and so far the game had been fairly clean. Of course there were an array of curse words hurled at one another and pushes and shoves that were much harder than what was necessary but nothing too damaging had happened yet. Slytherin had scored twice in the ensuing minutes afterwards and finally Al caught sight of the Snitch.
"And it looks like Potter, Al Potter that is, has found the Snitch! Smith is right behind Potter who seems to have spotted it as well. Potter and Smith are neck and neck! Oh that had to have hurt, Smith just slammed into Potter, but Potter isn't going down so easily! Potter's just taken the lead and his hand is out and reaching...does he...has he...YES HE'S GOT THE SNITCH! AL POTTER'S GOT THE SNITCH! GRYFFINDOR WINS! GRYFFINDOR WINS!"
It's almost like a dream and everything is moving in slow motion. I'm screaming with joy by now as we all fly to the ground. Once down we all tackle Al and we're all laughing as we hugged and slapped at each other's backs.
"Good on you Al! I can't friggin' believe it!" I shouted.
"Al I swear to Merlin I will never be mean to you again!" James promised.
"Fat chance that'll happen!" Al laughed.
"We're number one!" Lily screamed.
"Can't wait to tell my folks that Gryffindor, my team, beat Slytherin, their team!" Scorpius said with a laugh.
"This is the best day ever!" Delton added.
"Well said Delton ol' pal!" Freddie said. Madam Hooch was making her way to us with the Quidditch trophy and we all stood to our feet as James grasped the trophy and thrust it into the air. The whole stadium erupted into applause and soon the stands were emptying and Gryffindor's were running at us onto the pitch. We were slapped on the back, enveloped into hugs, and our hair ruffled by our classmates. We slowly made our way into the common room where a party was already set up. There was food, drinks, alcohol (much to Rose and Roxanne's dismay), music, and an array of Gryffindor's and a few Hufflepuff's as well. The team all changed and I of course was forced into an outfit I wasn't comfortable wearing. Dom and Starlene insisted on me wearing a pink spaghetti strapped dress that barely reached my knees and a pair of heels that were at least 3 inches tall. We made our way down and when my eyes met James' I felt my heart beat faster. He was just wearing jeans and a v-neck gray t-shirt, but he was still devastatingly handsome. He smiled widely at me and I saw his eyes travel from my feet to my face. I giggled to myself. James was checking me out.
"Well hello there gorgeous." James said to me as he grabbed my hand and twirled me around. I laughed.
"Well hello there Mr. Potter. What brings you here?" I asked.
"Oh I just happened to be part of this team that won the Quidditch cup." He answered nonchalantly.
"Really now? Sounds like you have quite the team."
"Oh I do. And there's this one player who I fancy quite a bit."
"Yes. She's kinda short, but sexy as hell, especially with this little pink dress on." James said as he pulled me close, a slow song playing in the background and we started dancing. I blushed at the close contact and the compliment.
"You played really well today James." I said.
"You were brilliant Paislee. You scored over half of the points." James told me.
"Eh, what can I say? I've got some major skills." I said with a smirk of my own. James laughed at me.
We finished the slow dance and mingled around a bit before I was grabbed by Dom and Starlene and the three of us got the rest of the gang and we danced like fools in the middle. I didn't drink but Dom and Starlene got a bit tipsy. It was well past midnight before the party calmed down. Dom and Starlene were already asleep in the dorm after Roxanne forced them to bed. I stayed a bit longer and made out with James on the couch for a little bit before he went to bed as well. I bid him good night and made my way to my dorm and changed into my p.j.s before settling under my covers and falling asleep thinking about just how perfect this day was.
"Paislee! Paislee wake up!" I heard someone yell in my ear. I looked up blearily into a terrified looking Dom. I was instantly awake.
"What? What is it?" I asked already getting up and changing.
"It's James! He's hurt!" Dom replied.
My blood ran cold. My heart stopped beating and I couldn't breathe properly. I was in a trance before Starlene shook me.
"Paislee, finish getting ready, we need to get to the hospital wing." Starlene told me. I nodded numbly and pulled on a regular shirt and put my hair into a ponytail. I practically ran to the Hospital wing. I burst through the doors with Dom and Starlene behind me and I gasped.
James was lying on one of the beds and he looked...terrible. His face was black and blue, both of his eyes swollen and purple. He had cuts up and down his arms and his right arm was in a cast. His head was wrapped in gauze and there was another gash along his neck. Dom and Starlene started crying immediately. The rest of the gang was already there and hovered around James' bed. I slowly made my way to him and Rose threw herself into my arms and sobbed. I patted her back clumsily before locking eyes with Freddie.
"What happened?" I asked hoarsely.
"He was jumped. Weatherly and Flannigan cornered him in one of the corridors. He was on his way to see Ted." Freddie said quietly.
"What happened to them?" I asked.
"McGonagall expelled them both. James didn't even have his wand with him. He had no way of defending himself." Al supplied. I nodded but said nothing.
"Alright now, I know you're all worried but Mr. Potter's parents will be here shortly and there's already too many people here. Mr. Potter and Ms. Potter, you two can stay but I'm afraid the rest of you need to go back to your rooms." Madam Pomfrey said kindly. Everyone was too shocked to do much, but obey. I stayed frozen to my spot, unable to move.
"Paislee?" Lily nudged me.
"Would you like to stay for a bit? We could switch places when my parents get here." Lily offered. I wanted to cry right then and there but I couldn't. I nodded at her. Al and Lily left the room and I pulled a chair up to James' bed side.
I watched as his chest rose and fell shakily. It looked as if he were fighting for each breath.
"Oh James..." I whispered as I grabbed his uncast hand and rubbed the top of it with my thumb. His handsome face was so battered and bruised. I wanted to stroke his face but I was afraid to hurt him more.
"I'm so sorry James, this is all my fault." I whispered to him. I whispered apologies to him over and over again before pressing my lips to his hand and getting up to leave.
"James...get better, okay?" I whispered one last time before walking out and letting Al and Lily back in.
"Let me know when I can visit again okay?" I asked Lily.
"Of course." She replied before grabbing Al's hand and walking back into the room.
I made it back to the common room where half of Gryffindor were huddled up together. Dom and Starlene saw me and made their way to me when I held up my hand.
"I'm just gonna go back to bed. M'tired." I said. They looked ready to argue but I was already half way up the stairs, not really feeling up to talking to anyone.
As I lay down on my bed and pulled the curtains around my bed, I promised myself that I would never, ever, keep anything from James again. Weatherly and Flannigan went after James because of me and my big mouth. And finally the tears came...and didn't stop until I was fast asleep.
A/N: OMG!!!! What's gonna happen next?! What did you guys think of this chapter? I had a hard time writing it because I love James and definitely don't want him to hurt, but I promise this has a point. What do you think Paislee should do next? And what about her blaming herself? Crazy right? Please review! You know they give me warm and fuzzies! =]]