Chapter 2 : Beaters and Badges
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Beaters and Badges
James and Sirius rode their brooms out to the quiddtich pitch, Sirius mumbling incessantly about shoddy quiddtich players. It was a week into school, and they were on their way to the Gryffindor tryout, both hoping that they could assemble a decent team.
When they arrived, there was already a crowd of Gryffindors waiting nervously. Sirius sighed.
“Er...I’m Sirius. And I’m captaining this team. And er…this is James, he’s seeker, so unless you have some extraordinary seeking talent, I suggest you not vie for the spot. Start with the chasers, then?” Sirius announced to the group. Most of them were about third year and scrawny. At Sirius’ words, more than half the group stepped forward and grabbed a school broom.
“You lot split in half while James and I guard the hoops. Show us your best or—or I’ll just have to kick your scrawny arses off the pitch, understand?” Sirius said reproachfully, looking at the gaggle of unpromising candidates. The group mounted their brooms and flew skyward.
Sirius settled himself in front of the center hoop and threw the quaffle to one of the ten chasers, a skinny, dark haired girl. She zoomed through the pitch and faked out James as she approached the goal, sending the quaffle flying through the left hoop while James dived the other way. James raised his eyebrows.
“Not bad,” Sirius complimented the little girl when she returned to the other side of the pitch, “what’s your name?”
The girl blinked hard and said, “Charlotte Stratton, second year,” in a soft voice. Well, she’s one hell of a second year, thought Sirius.
By the end of the chaser tryout, Sirius also discovered a fifth year boy named Ben Cromwell with an exceptional arm. Including Sirius, the chasers were complete.
The keeper was easy to find. Of the three that tried out, only a sixth year girl, Grace Wickham, with good reflexes, showed any promise.
But then came the beaters. The previous ones, Croe and Applewhite, were both muggleborns who played cricket on holidays. There was no such luck with the new candidates. There were six of them; two fourth year girls, a burly fifth year that looked like he could beat the pulp out of Sirius if he pleased, a tiny, pale first year boy, and two tall sixth year boys who looked merely passable. Sirius heard James snigger as he sent them up into the air with a pair of bludgers and some levitating wood blocks to hit.
The fourth year girls fell into a fit of laughter when a bludger zoomed by them, and they continuously broke into have hysterics from then on. The large fifth year boy had great power on this ball, but he missed every target. The first year boy, as expected, could barely hold the club steady. One of the six year boys turned out to be very good at beating, but he received a bludger to the head from the fifth year boy and passed out on his broom. He had to be saved by James and escorted to the hospital wing. The other sixth year had no coordination and nearly fell off his broom trying to make contact with the ball.
Sirius consulted James about the beater situation while the remaining beaters tried to hit the moving wooden blocks. “What about that big bloke?” James asked.
“He’s not really got any aim,” Sirius replied.
“Yeah, well he aims well enough to knock out the only decent beater we’ve found,” James joked.
“Well, what if he accidentally hits you while you’re trying to find the snitch?”
“Well, we just have to train him before then, huh?”
“Fine. OY! BEATERS GET DOWN HERE,” Sirius cried out skyward. The five contenders swooped down immediately, “So, one of our beaters is whoever that kid is in the hospital wing,” Sirius began. The beaters all raised their eyebrows incredulously. “and the other is you,” Sirius pointed to the large fifth year boy, “what’s your name?”
“Clarence Morgan,” said the boy. His voice was deep, but filled with excitement.
“Right, er, Clarence. Er, good try, the rest of you, better luck next year then?”
The rejected beaters scowled and shuffled angrily off the pitch.
Once the pitch was empty save Sirius and James with the quidditch case, Sirius turned to James and said, “You think we’ll actually have a good team this year?” with concern in his voice.
“Hey, as long as you’ve got Potter on the pitch, you’re in good hands,” James bragged.
“You better always be on the pitch, mate. Oh, and we’ll start training this Wednesday then?”
“Yeah. Not that I’ll need any.”
Lily was reclining comfortably and reading in the odd silence of the Gryffindor common room late on a Monday afternoon. It was sunny yet crisp outside, and everyone was lolling about on the grass, enjoying the last days of sunlight until they were forced inside from rain and snow. But Lily liked the common room quiet. She often sat and watched the fire die late at night, after the marauders, who were known for staying up late, went to sleep.
As Lily turned the pages of The Complete Theory of Magical Numbers, the portrait swung open. Lily didn’t lift her head.
“—I’ll just copy everything off Remus. Well, it’s Lily! Now, is it just my luck that Sirius can’t find a good quidditch team, but I find bombshells lazing about in the stuffy indoors?”
Lily lowered her book and rolled her eyes. James and Sirius, in full quidditch gear, complete with windblown hair and cheeks, were standing in the doorway. Lily closed her book and stood up, making her way to the stairs, clearly annoyed.
“Oy! Don’t just…leave. It’s rude,” James taunted.
“Oh, okay,” Lily retorted, “Farewell, egotistical, womanizing prats. Nice talking to you.”
And Lily ascended the steps, leaving the two dumfounded boys in her wake.
She had done a fairly good job avoiding James and his cronies in classes, even if they were in four out of six of them. Lily positioned herself as far away from them as possible, and had barely had to speak to any of them all week. She knew she couldn’t keep it up forever, James was bound to corner her sometime. But Lily was content with postponing that moment for as long as possible.
The progress on the quidditch team was slow, and Sirius had decided to have training sessions for three hours, four days a week. However, this only exhausted the team more.
“Padfoot, you’ve got to cool it on the training. Stratton’s looks like she’s about to spontaneously combust, I think Morgan’s got a hernia, and I don’t know if you saw, but Wickham nearly fell off her broom yesterday…she fell asleep on the bloody thing,” James said at dinner, a week before the match against Hufflepuff.
“We can’t just stop now! I mean, they’re getting better,” Sirius defended.
“No really, “ Remus added in, “switch it to two hours or something.”
“But Prongs, “ Sirius pointed out, “you had us working twice this before the Slytherin match last year! Think you’re being a tad hypocritical?”
“Oh sod off, they’re Slytherin. Hufflepuff barely knows a snitch from a quaffle. Bit of a different game, you’d think?” James exclaimed. Suddenly he felt a hard tap on his shoulder. He turned and saw Lily Evans standing behind him, a reproachful look across her face. “Lily! So all this time you won’t talk to me and suddenly you’re begging for it?”
“Eurghh. Absolutely not. Dumbledore wants a meeting with me and you this Friday at eleven, Potter. But I really wouldn’t mind your absence,” Lily recited.
“Aw no, I bet you would. Then it’s a date,” James taunted. Remus gave James a ‘what-the-hell-are-you-doing’ look.
“Potter, you are an insufferable bastard,” Lily raged, “and it is not a date. It’s a business-related meeting with the sodding headmaster that I’d rather you wouldn’t attend, savvy?” Lily looked as if she wanted nothing more than to slap James hard across the face, once again.
“You know, I bet Dumbledore doesn’t even want a meeting. I bet you want me, right?”
Lily had a disgusted expression on her face. James raised an eyebrow. Remus and Sirius were shaking their heads.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” Lily hissed.
“Er, I’m hitting on the school’s biggest prude?” James joked. Lily stared disdainfully at James for a second, then turned around and stormed out the Great Hall and up the entrance stairs. It was only then that James realized what he’d just said, and much too late.
“Well,” Remus said, “you royally screwed that one up.”
“Fuck. I know. Well, what do I do?” James pleaded.
“Apologize,” Sirius suggested.
“She’ll kill me!” James cried.
“Not my fault,” Sirius replied.
James opened his mouth to say something, but stopped. Remus motioned towards the stairs. James took a deep breath and began walking. A dungbomb landed in front of him has he walked past the Hufflepuff table. “Oy! Ten points from Hufflepuff!” James accused halfheartedly, then continued towards the ever-changing staircases.
After thoroughly searching every corridor, James found himself in front of the portrait hole. He muttered the password and the portrait swung open. Sitting cross-legged on the couch and staring intently into the fire was Lily. She turned as James entered, scowled, and looked back into the fire, crossing her arms.
“What,” she said.
James faltered. “I just wanted to say sorry for—“
“Oh no,” Lily cut him off, “I didn’t expect anything better from you.”
“No, seriously,” James sighed, walking to the couch, “what is it you don’t like about me?”
“Everything,” Lily was still staring into the fire.
“You know, I get that you hate me, but I deserve a clue as to why.”
Lily turned and glared at James. “I hate you because you’re shallow, egotistic, and insufferable. And I would give anything to make you go away. Good night,” she picked herself up off the couch and ran up the girl’s dormitory steps. James just stood by the couch for a minute, staring blankly.
He sighed, “Shit.”
It was Friday afternoon a week later and Lily was re-labeling potions in the Hospital Wing cupboard. It was idle work, but favorable to treating severely hexed students, or worse, being in the Gryffindor tower. Lily was rewriting ‘Coloured Complexion Antidote’, carefully writing each letter with a permanent-ink charmed quill. As she began to write the x, a high, piercing scream made Lily jump and scribble a thick line across what she had written so far.
“Miss Evans?? Come quickly! I need your help!” Madam Bowne cried from the main room. Lily dashed into the room, adjusting her apron. Sitting up on a levitating stretcher was a Ravenclaw girl, most likely a first year. Blood was spurting out her chest and face as if she had been slashed with a sword. The huge gash was growing, and Madam Bowne was trying as hard as she could to stop the blood flow. Lily ran back to the cupboard and retrieved a few potions that seemed like they would help. Another student nurse was removing a stack of parchment and books from a bed and prepping it for the screaming girl.
Madam Bowne had stopped the blood, but it had drenched the girl’s face and clothes, not to mention the stretcher. Lily and the other nurse, Corinne, moved the girl, now calmed to only sobbing in pain, to the bed. Bowne was closing the wounds while Lily tried to calm the girl down. Corinne frantically searched the official Hogwarts potion allergies picture directory for the girl’s name.
“Natalie? Miss Lawrence,” Corinne finally soothed, “if you’d please calm down. Everything is okay, but we need to know what happened to properly treat you.”
Natalie whimpered, her face now pale white since the blood had been cleared off. “I…I was walking down the ha-,” she faltered, trying to suck in her tears, “-all, and someone just yelled, ‘mudblood!’ and the-e-en I tu-rn-e-ed around a-and they said a spell,” she breathed in, “and then it felt like they hit me with a sword, and they ran” she tried to gain her composure.
“Miss Lawrence,” Lily said, “do you remember who did it?”
Natalie shrugged, “He was big and tall with blonde hair.”
Corinne flipped through the picture directory. “Well, assuming he’s older, it could be Mister Rosier or Mister Erving.”
“Oh please,” Lily interrupted, “Colin Erving is a muggleborn! Like he would do that! It’s obviously Evan Rosier!”
“Miss Evans,” Madam Bowne said as she force-fed Natalie some revolting-looking potion, “you shouldn’t jump to conclusions like that. For all we know it was the Minister of Magic. Now could you please get me the scar-remover solvent?”
Lily scowled, knowing exactly that Evan Rosier, the foul seventh year Slytherin, had cast the spell which Madam Bowne presumed was ‘Sectumsempra’.
James looked at the clock in the common room. 10:54.
“Just go, mate,” Sirius suggested while going over quidditch plays on a sheet of parchment.
“Maybe I won’t go at all,” James sighed.
“Get over yourself, Prongs. It’s Dumbledore’s orders. You’ll get your pretty little badge taken from you—and you wouldn’t want that,” Sirius mocked. James glared. “Seriously. Leave.”
James threw his cloak on and left through the portrait hole. Fifty feet away, starting down the hall was Lily, still in her Hospital Wing uniform. James considered catching up with her, but thought better of it and gaited along far behind. Lily’s red ponytail was bobbing up and down softly as she padded light and quick towards the gargoyle statue.
Lily turned towards the gargoyle and paused. She was inaudible from so far away, but the gargoyle shifted and she stepped up the stairs as the statue moved back. It was then that James realized he didn’t know the password.
He came to the gargoyle and paused. The halls were empty, save a droopy-eyed ghost wailing softly to herself.
“Erm…chocolate frogs?” James asked hopefully. The statue stared back at him, bored. “Fizzing whisbees?” No motion. “Ice mice? Pepper imps? Jelly slugs? Fudge flies? Cockroach clusters?” Nothing.
James stomped his foot like a child, whining for a toy. “Chocoballs? Oh, come on. WHAT ELSE IS THERE? Blood flavored lollipops? No? Er…toothflossing stringmints?” The gargoyle slowly shifted to the left. “Seriously? Eurgh.”
James climbed the steps to the office, hearing Dumbledore’s calm tone, although muffled. The office came into view.
“…should be here any minute. Well! Mr. Potter, please take a seat, thank you. Sherbet lemon? No? All the more for me, I suppose? Anyways, I hope your first few weeks as Heads have been bearable?” Dumbledore began. James snickered silently at Dumbledore’s habit of talking in questions while nodding his head in reply,“Good. Good. Maintaining control, I assume? Well, in any case, there are a few things I need to tell you that I did not bother putting on the letter I sent. First of all, you two have a few extra perks to your duty. You’ve a Heads only bathroom, actually just down the hall from here. Behind the portrait of the lady playing the piano. I believe the password is ‘gobstones’ currently. Furthermore, no curfew applies to you, though I would assume you only use this privilege for patrolling?” Dumbledore winked.
James turned to Lily, for the first time since he’d arrived. She glared menacingly back. He quickly swiveled his head back towards Dumbledore, who was explaining the specifics of prefect meetings and conduct. None of it had much meaning to James, and he found ten minutes later that he was fiddling idly with the hem of his cloak, tuning out the headmaster’s soft voice and Lily’s occasional, polite replies. She seemed to be paying no notice to him.
“…and best of luck for the quidditch game, Mr. Potter,” Dumbledore said. James looked up and smiled tiredly. “Good night, and don’t hesitate to report anything important to me, yes? Now to bed with you both,” he chuckled.
James got up first, walking down the spiraling staircase to the gargoyle statue. He could hear Lily’s footsteps behind him, but tried to ignore them.
“Why did you bother coming, Potter, if you’re just going to tune out everything that Dumbledore said?” Lily asked angrily from behind him. James stopped and turned. Lily, he found, was right behind him, so she nearly bumped into him.
“Because I’m Head Boy. And even if I don’t want to listen, I still have an obligation to go, okay?” James replied, a hint of annoyance in his tone. He started walking again.
“If you don’t want to know what your duties are, then why don’t I just put in a request that you have your job taken from you. I’m sure someone else would actually take Head Boy seriously.” They stood in front of the portrait.
“Obviously, Dumbledore thinks I’m the best one for it.” James said, then mumbled the password and climbed into the common room. It was completely empty. James and Lily quickly ascended the spiral staircases to their dormitories, where Lily was met by the silence of her four dorm mates sleeping and James was serenaded by loud, growling snores. Sirius had fallen asleep with his quidditch play book on his face, so James carefully picked it up and dropped it on the floor. The game against Hufflepuff was tomorrow, and James was excited as ever. He had gotten word that Hufflepuff had a new seeker, as their seeker from last year graduated. From what James had heard, the new player wasn’t bad. But right now it was no matter to him. What did matter was that his bed was a mere 10 feet away and he was in dire need of sleep.
A/N Alright, a few explanations on this chapter. Sectumsempra, I presume, was a known spell during the marauder's 7th year, because if you remember that in HBP, Remus says that "Levicorpus" had a great vogue during 5th year, so it would not be unusual that Snape's other spells were known. Also, if you haven't noticed, I had a momentary fetish with the word "savvy", as I had watched Pirates of the Caribbean prior to writing this chapter. Also, scrawny seems to be in use alot. If this or anything else really, really bothers you and detracts from your reading experience, just tell me.
Please review, constructive criticism is welcome, as is praise, of course ^_~
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