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Chapter 8: The Quidditch
Things were going a bit wrong this morning.
The Gryffindor-Slytherin Quidditch match was due to start in about two hours, and Dom was still not speaking to Eve or I because of our reaction to her announcement that she was now going out with Ryan Davies – and Eve wasn’t speaking to me either because of our argument last night. We were sitting in a stony silence at the breakfast table. Dom was determinedly stuffing her mouth with food, along with the rest of the Slytherin team – who were being overseen by Ryan Davies, already immaculately dressed in his emerald green Quidditch robes.
I was suspicious of that guy. First, he wants Dom playing on the Quidditch team (Dom. Dominique Weasley, nail varnish princess & glamour puss extraordinaire. Playing Quidditch.) Then, he asks her out at the training session! Why?!
But I also wanted Dom to be happy, so I wasn’t going to pry; she was annoyed enough with me already.
I glanced over at James and Fred, who were sitting with the rest of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. James looked a bit bored while strange girls kept coming up to him, showing him their banners with his name on and blown-up photograph. One girl had even written ‘Go Gryffindor’ in purple glitter across her chest.
The rest of the Gryffindors looked a bit nervous, staring into space blankly and chewing like camels- as if they weren’t even aware they were doing it. Slobbering too. Even the girls. Ew.
“Good luck Dom,” her brother Louis Weasley commented as he strolled past our table. Ryan immediately glared at him,
“No distracting my team, Weasley!” Louis raised an eyebrow and backed away,
“Whew, alright. Keep your lid on, psycho. By the way, if you upset my sister, I’ll beat you up.”
“I’d like to see you try,” Davies smirked. Louis narrowed his eyes, but strode away quickly. Wise of him. Davies had muscles to rival a polar bear. On steroids.
Dom was looking unhappy. I grabbed her shoulder when we were in the entrance hall and clear of Davies and his psycho-polar-bear-ness.
“Look, Dom, I’m sorry about last night.” I offered her a weak smile which she didn’t return. “I just want you to know that I’ll fully support all your relationship choices from now on. Even if I don’t like the person you’re dating.” Because he’s a psychotic polar bear on steroids.
Dom shrugged. “I guess I overreacted. But I knew you guys would be like that, and it just pissed me off that I could predict you both so well.”
“Why would that piss you off?” I asked, confused. It’d be more worrying if she couldn’t predict us. We’d been friends for years! We'd been through everything together!
“I don’t know. It just … did.”
“Ok.” It wasn’t really. “Well, I’ll be cheering in the stands for you anyway,” I squeezed her hand. “You nervous about the match?”
“Sort of,” Dom admitted cautiously. “But it’s not as bad as I thought it’d be. And anyway, no-one’ll care if I’m rubbish – everyone knows I’m just filling in.”
“That’s true,” I said, although secretly I was thinking that the students of Slytherin probably would care if she was rubbish. We were known for being stupidly competitive. With emphasis on the stupidly. “You’ll be great though. I know you will be.”
“Thanks Hol,” she smiled brightly at me, seemingly back to her old self.
“See ya!” I winked and Dom walked off to the locker rooms for the pre-game pep talk. Poor sod.
Eve came out of the Great Hall at that moment, talking to Annie and Roxanne. Annie waved at me happily, and I smiled back, attaching myself to the end of their little group as we walked out to get a good seat in the stands. I avoided looking at Eve the whole walk down. It was sunny but cold again, and I was glad that I was wearing a warm jumper with my green mini skirt (I’d had to wear the mini skirt, because it was the only thing I owned that was green). I sighed resignedly as I plonked myself into a seat and prepared for several hours of mind-numbing boringness. At least there was a Hogsmeade trip next weekend that I could start planning for in the long, cold hours ahead. And yes, Hogsmeade always needed a lot of forward thinking and plotting. Eve, Dom and I were the people who tried to keep an eye on the main couples and help things run smoothly for them. You know; casting a quick spell to stop a girl tripping over, refilling their glasses of butterbeer discreetly, fixing any unnoticed smudged make-up. And now that Dom would be unavailable (curse that Ryan Davies), it would be double the work for Eve and I.
…If Eve managed to get over what problem she currently had with me by next week. Blimey. Girls were so difficult. I was going to need to go and spend a day with James and Fred now to balance out all this stupid drama and fighting and stuff.
“What position does James play?” Annie asked me. Yes! This was good – interest in James!
“Chaser,” I told her.
“And he’s the captain, right?”
“It must be hard, having that much pressure to win from everyone.”
“I don’t think he’s that bothered by it,” I told her. “He’s got some weird views about Quidditch. I’m not entirely sure what’s up with it all, but he doesn’t even like it that much.”
“How odd,” Annie frowned daintily, her fair hair swinging across one side of her face and shining in the sun.
“I think he likes you, y’know,” I told her, watching intently for any signs of a blush. And… yes! There we have it! Currently creeping up her neck, an unquestionable spot of blushing!
“No, that’s stupid.”
“Why? You’re pretty, and fun, and sweet-“
“Stop it!” Annie blushed even more and slapped my arm. “He’s the most popular guy at Hogwarts. Why would he be interested in me?”
“Why wouldn’t he be?” I smirked.
“No, what I meant was-“ Annie took a deep breath. “Why would he be interested in me, when he could go out with anybody in the whole school?”
“Like who?” I prompted, rolling my eyes internally. This was going to be harder than I’d first thought; Annie was way too modest.
“Like you,” Annie blurted suddenly and my mouth fell open. She thought James would want to date me? That was the most ridiculous idea since jeggings! (And seriously, why would anyone ever want to wear those fugly jean-legging hybrids? Fashion suicide.)
“No way,” I said in an exasperated voice. “He likes you, Annie!”
“But you’re so popular and stunning… I just assumed that you two would sort of… you know. Get together. It’s what the whole school thinks.” I raised an eyebrow. How had the gossipmongers not told me about this rumour before now?!
“Well I can assure you that James and I are just friends,” I grinned impishly. “And as for me being stunning, have you even seen your reflection? You’re gorgeous! James even said so himself!”
“He did?” Annie asked, amazed.
“He sure did,” I replied smugly. “He told me last night.” Sort of.
“Wow,” Annie slumped back into her chair, looking stunned.
A loud cheer swept through the gathered collection of students and professors as the Gryffindor team came sweeping out of the locker rooms. The commentator, Michael Jepson, roared his approval along with the rest of them.
“And here they come, ladies and gentlemen! The ever-triumphant, the courageous, the dashing GRYFFINDOR LIONS! Their captain James Potter leads the way looking relaxed and cheerful. There are a few rumours going round about his entanglement with a certain Annie Summers of Ravenclaw!” Speculative whispers began to whistle through the throng in the stands, and Annie’s eyes were ready to pop out of her skull as she heard this.
“I told you!” I whispered happily, glancing at James. He seemed bewildered. Michael Jepson glanced at me and I winked.
It’d only cost me five galleons to persuade him to announce that particular ‘rumour’ to the school, and keep his mouth closed about the bribe too.
“Keep on topic, Jepson,” scolded Professor Shoehorn.
“Right then!” Michael continued. “Gryffindor team, in order: James Potter, Joe Brown, Fred Weasley, Rose Weasley, Andy Patil, Mick Finnegan aaand Lisa Summers!”
“That’s my little sister,” Annie whispered to me proudly, and pointed to the smallest figure on the team. I smiled; I could certainly see the resemblance.
“And now, give it up for the opposition, ladies and gents! The sneaky, the smart, the slimy,” Michael got a smack up the head from Shoehorn for that, “SLYTHERIN SNAKES!”
The Slytherins marched onto the pitch proudly, led by Ryan Davies.
“In order: Captain, Ryan Davies, followed by Scorpius Malfoy - and it’s surprising that he hasn’t been banned from Quidditch after the recent, ahem, debacle in the entrance hall. After Scorpius we have Albus Potter, Lara McGlaggen, Jack Bates, aaand last but not least, Dominique Weasley- who is filling in for absent keeper Harry MacReynold!”
I cheered loudly as Dom waved at the crowd, sucking up all the attention.
The captains shook hands, Rose and Scorpius glared at each other (until Rose flipped him off), and then the snitch was released and the game began.
It was a fast and furious game, the quaffle changing hands so quickly that Michael Jepson was having trouble keeping up.
“Malfoy…Potter…Malfoy, wait, no, intercepted by Weasleywhodropsit back to Potter…Weasley again-“
Even I, someone who had never seen anything remotely fascinating in the sport, was following the movements of the players with incredulity. They just moved so fast, so accurately! And Dom was up there!
“Potter in possession!” Michael announced and I watched the concentration on James’s face intensify as he flew towards the three Slytherin hoops that Dom was anxiously hovering in front of. “It looks like the time has come to test Slytherin’s new keeper, Dom Weasley…” I crossed my fingers, praying for Dom to save the goal. James flew confidently towards her, quaffle firmly under one arm. It looked as if he was going to shoot through the left hoop, and Dom followed his movements, hovering carefully. Then he changed direction and flung the ball towards the middle hoop with all his might. Dom baulked and dived forwards on her broom, managing to save the ball by the tips of her fingers.
An enormous cheer resounded from the Slytherin section of the stands, and I grinned along with them. Annie and Roxanne were supporting Slytherin too; they said they’d rather be playing Slytherin than Gryffindor in the next match.
Unfortunately, it started to rain at that moment, and I winced every time I felt the fat blobs plop into my hair. Eve produced an umbrella, but I was sitting too far away for it to be of any use, and in fact it only made things worse – I was seated directly underneath the rivulets of water running down the sides of the material. I glared onto the pitch, pulling my jumper over my head and using it as a makeshift shield. If anyone else had done this, they would’ve been laughed at. But luckily in my case, it was not so. Several other umbrella-less people even copied me, pulling off their own jumpers.
I merely gritted my teeth and tried to ignore the abysmal weather. I had to stay out here for Dom’s sake.
Slytherin scored two goals, but then Gryffindor scored two more as well, out of the three they threw. The score was 90-70 to Slytherin and the crowd was going wild, but then a movement up in the air caught my eye and I shrieked as the two seekers came hurtling towards where I was sitting, watching a shiny gold object intently.
“And the seekers appear to have spotted the snitch! Hold your breath ladies and gentlemen, it seems that this match will be over before it has even begun…”
I squint through the rain as the most ear-splitting cheer yet rears up, trying to figure out what’s happened.
“Gryffindor have won!” Annie tells me, and my thoughts fly to James, and I’m wondering how exactly he’s feeling about this. I see him being mobbed by adoring fans down below, but I can’t make out his expression. The Slytherin team land a small distance away, and I trudged off to visit Dom, Al and Scorpius. But when I got there, Ryan Davies was busy giving Dom a ‘celebratory snog’ (despite the fact that they bloody lost), so I turned to Scorpius, the nearest to me.
“Um… well played?” I said vaguely.
“We were absolutely shit,” he growls without looking at me.
“No you weren’t. It was a close result.” Scorpius glances at me disbelievingly,
“Hollie, it was 220-90.”
I bite my lip, “Just trying to help… “ I should definitely remember to stay away from all Quidditch matches / Quidditch-related discussions in future.
I leave the Slytherins and run over to a beaming Fred, who gives me such an enthusiastic hug that I’m lifted off my feet and have to spit hair out of my mouth.
“WE WON HOLLIE! WE BLOODY WON!”
“Yes, Fred, I realised-“
“THAT MEANS IT’S PARTY TIME!”
“Okay that’s nice-“
“AND LOTS OF FOOOD!”
I smiled fondly.
“You’re coming to the party right?” he asks hopefully. “You’ve got to! And Dom and Eve.”
“Sure, we’ll be there,” I shrug and he turns to James, giving him an awkward man-hug thing.
The Gryffindor common room after they win a Quidditch match. There’s nowhere in the world quite like it.
The blast of cheering and laughter washed over us in a waterfall as Eve, Dom and I emerged into the spacious, yet cosy, room. Groups of people were chatting, holding drinks, playing wizard poker, dancing. The Gryffindor team were surrounded by admirers, slurping Butterbeer or firewhiskey. Dom and Eve immediately rushed off to mingle, and I helped myself to a glass of water, watching all the drunk girls make fools of themselves and the drunk guys reciprocating. I didn’t quite realise it, but I was looking for James.
I spotted Annie and Roxanne on a sofa, and plonked down next to them.
“Hey,” I smiled.
“Hola!” Annie giggled, slopping her drink.
“Are you drunk, Annie?”
“Noooo… maybe…” I raised an eyebrow and glanced at Roxanne,
“You let her drink?!”
It’s always the quiet ones.
“She was already well into her third glass by the time I got here,” Roxanne shrugged. “What can I say?”
“You can SAY NO to drugs and alcohol!” I proclaimed loudly, then added as an afterthought, “And knife crimes too…” Roxanne rolled her eyes. But it wasn’t as if I was being hypocritical. I never drank at parties; I preferred to stay sober and then orchestrate the proceedings with a level head. Many a drunken snog in the dark had bloomed into a healthy relationship, thanks to me.
Not that I’m expecting credit or anything.
Although a trophy would be nice.
Not that that was a hint or anything.
Except it totally was.
“Seen James anywhere?” I asked Annie.
“Nope! James has disappeared! Like a bumblebee!”
“He’s in the dorm,” Roxanne whispered to me. I decided to go and pay him a little visit.
The boys’ dorm was empty when I initially walked in, but I noticed that the bathroom door was closed. I knocked quietly.
I received an answering grunt.
“James, what are you doing?”
“What do people generally do in the bathroom?”
“You don’t fool me.”
“Yes I do.”
“No, you don’t.”
“Yes, I- Oh, whatever.” The door opened suddenly and I almost fell over, but managed to steady myself with the wall just in time. I smiled at James. Then realised that he was wearing his pyjamas.
“What the hell are you wearing?” I asked. “Aren’t you coming to the party?”
“I’m tired,” James shrugged, trudging over to his bed and lying down with his arms behind his head. I sat at the foot of his bed, crossing my legs. He nudged my leg with his toe.
“Ok, what is going on with you, mister?”
“What d’you mean?”
“Aren’t you even the slightest bit happy to have won the match?”
He shook his head, “You don’t understand-“
“-shut up, I’m not gonna rest up that easily,” I cut him off. James sighed and stared at the ceiling, and I held my breath, hoping that he would finally explain about all the Quidditch weirdness.
“I don’t want to be a Quidditch player.”
“-I want to do something worthwhile, make a difference. And frankly, I think Quidditch is only really good for exercise and a bit of a laugh with mates. And it used to be fun. But I’ve been dragged in too deep. I keep getting all these letters from scouts, wanting me to try out for professional teams, and it freaks me out. And I don’t know what to do; becoming a Quidditch player would make my family so proud, and they always seem a little distant. I really want them to notice me more. But I don’t want to get them to do it through Quidditch.” He paused. “I’m confused, I guess.”
I sighed, “James Potter, do you really believe that your parents won’t be proud of you no matter what you do? That’s basically a parent’s function in life! And you shouldn’t be upset that you’re good at a sport – people might start to think you’re crazy!” I teased.
“Yeah, well. It’s not as simple as that. My parents can be weird sometimes. They just zone out.” I crawled up the bed to lie next to him, resting my head on his shoulder and he smiled slightly.
“Just do what you feel is right.”
“I don’t know which feeling is right.”
“Then just don’t think about it for a bit. Come downstairs to the party,” I got up and began rummaging around in his wardrobe for an outfit he could wear. “Get drunk,” I threw the outfit at him. “Kiss Annie Summers,” I winked and left the room quietly.
Downstairs the party was in full swing, and everyone was chanting and singing. I weaved through the dance floor and found Eve sitting on her own by the window. Time to deal with the next angsty teenager.
“I’m sorry,” Eve blurted out. “I’ve been a bitch.
Well, that was easy.
“That’s ok.” I noticed James slip out from the boys’ staircase and get lost in the crowd.
“I think I need to tell you something, though,” Eve sighed, and I suddenly became nervous.
“Has something happened?” I asked anxiously. “Is Zoey ok?”
“Zoey’s fine,” Eve shook her head. “But… I’m just constantly being distracted these days. And it’s annoying me. I like to be focused.”
“What do you mean distracted?” I frowned.
“As in, my attentions are elsewhere…”
“Where are they then?”
“On Fred.” I gaped at her, and then started to grin. Then I squealed because it seemed like the appropriate thing to do, and gave her arm a squeeze.
“That is the cutest thing ever,” I beamed.
“You think I’ve got a chance?”
“Honey, you have more than a chance. You have a billion chances with cherries on top and chocolate sauce and sprinkles-“ I cut myself off as Fred came over to us, grinning drunkenly and swaying. He poked my forehead.
“A leprechaun stole my shoe!”
Oh yeah, he wasn’t wearing any shoes.
“Really?” I pretended to gasp, and Fred nodded proudly.
“And then a unicorn stole my other one.”
“That’s great, that’s really great.” I gave Eve a sideways glance. She was quiet. “Hey, Fred, I think Eve can help you find your shoes. She’s a qualified unicorn tracker stroke shoe-finder.”
“Seriously?” Fred raised an eyebrow. “Cool!” I nudged Eve, who mouthed “love you” and grabbed Fred’s hand happily, wandering off with him to somewhere over the rainbow.
I stood up, straightened my skirt, and immediately saw Annie and James dancing together. And, as I watched, he leant down slowly and kissed her gently. A slow smile spread across my lips.
This had been an unexpectedly brilliant day.
a/n: sorry about the slow updates for this story- I'm under a lot of stress at the moment and ideas aren't flowing as easily. D: Please don’t throw socks at me for the ending. It was necessary! [I suck at writing Quidditch scenes by the way, I know]. Thank you so much for reading, & please review – special mention to missclaire and TimeSeer for their amazing reviews, I love you both :). But I’d really love some more feedback on my writing, if you could! It’ll only take a moment. A few words, then a click, and I’m a happy writer! Even if you think it’s all rubbish, I’d still like to know. I also have a new story up, an Albus/OC called “Against the Dying of the Light” if you want to take a peek. ;D It’s in a very different style to this story.