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Chapter 9 : The Rouse
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Chapter IX – The Rouse
The sudden weight and pain of someone collapsing on top of you jerked you from your sleep. With a yelp you sat up, pushing away the covers so you could see who had disturbed you. You were met with the bright, smiling face of none-other-than Jodie.
“What?” you dragged out the question groggily, falling back onto your pillow.
Jodie climbed off her bed and announced in her usual loud voice (though it seemed so much louder this morning), “I thought you might like to know that the new beater has been posted on the bulletin board!”
You sat up straight once again. “Really?”
Jodie nodded. “Hurry! Go see before a crowd gathers!” She laughed and bounced away down the stairs into the common room.
You felt your stomach begin to flip and cringe with anxiety. It just got worse the longer you waited, so you were still pulling on your shoes as you hopped down the stairs into the common room.
A crowd was already beginning to form around the posted parchment. You recognized one third year from the tryout as he turned away, looking disappointed. This only made you more restless. Your hopes soared—could you really have made it?
Muttering polite phrases you picked your way through the crowd. When you finally reached the announcement board your stomach clenched so tightly that you stopped breathing. You read the message over and over, slowly registering that it read:
You were aware of being hugged from the side by Jodie, but you found it hard to respond through your shock.
“I-I’m really it?” you asked in disbelief.
Jodie pulled back and nodded enthusiastically. “Yes! You’ll be a great beater, Lacey!”
You finally got over the initial shock. A large grin broke out on your face and you threw your arms into the air exclaiming, “Yes!”
“That has to be the loudest sound I’ve ever heard from Lacey.”
You and Jodie turned to see Sirius and James emerging from the small gathering. Outside the circle of the crowd they caught glimpses of Remus and Peter waiting for their comrades to return.
You blushed and looked down, embarrassed. Sirius was right, you really had never done something like that in front of people; shy Lacelin, you were.
“Oh, good. You two, will you help Lacey before our next game? I think she could use a few extra practices.” Jodie addressed Sirius and James.
“No problem.” Sirius said right off, shrugging his shoulders nonchalantly.
“Shouldn’t our other beater work with her?” James asked.
“I need to work with him.” Jodie said simply with no intent on explaining further.
While they carried out their conversation you sank deeper and deeper into a hole. Sirius and James were going to be helping you with Quidditch? Immediately a fear was born inside you—being around two of Remus’ best friends will make it easier for them to find out or ask about your alleged relationship with Remus, thanks to Lily.
Pessimism took over for the rest of the day and many scenarios of your fear ran through your mind. That night was to be your first practice with Sirius and James.
You hadn’t realized how hard Quidditch players worked. Except for weekends they practice every day but Thursday, which were now your practices with Sirius and James. If necessary they would practice with you on weekends as well. You hoped it wouldn’t be needed.
As you sat down in your last class of the day you wondered if you were really cut out for sports. All day you heard conversations that went sort of like this:
“I’m sure she only got it because of Jodie.”
“Don’t forget Sirius and James!”
“Blimey, that’s three people! However did she get Sirius and James in her favor?”
“I don’t know. How could a bookworm get beater for Gryffindor?”
You’d only heard snippets, and not that many. It wasn’t an all over the school topic, but it certainly felt that way to you now. Bookworm—that was true. You dug deeper and deeper into your self pitying hole until—
“Well, look, Sirius; our new beater!” Someone sat down next to you, rather close. You could feel their arm against yours.
“So it is, James.” On your other side someone flopped down next to you, also very close.
You looked side-to-side and sighed. “Hi Sirius, hi James.” you said dully.
They raised an eyebrow, glancing at each other before turning their attention back to you. “What’s wrong?” James asked.
“You should be excited!” Sirius added.
You made a lame attempt to smile. “Just having an off day.” You hoped they’d leave it at that.
Of course, they didn’t. Sirius’ arm fell around your shoulders. “What have we told you about lying?”
“Technically, I’m not lying.” you replied.
“But that’s technically, we go for sure.” James countered. “Tell us what’s bugging you.”
You sighed. Apparently the only way to get rid of them was to tell them, and obviously lying wasn’t going to work. “Do you think I can be a good beater?”
“We’ve already told you that.” Sirius replied.
You thought back to the night you overheard the marauders in the hallway.
“Beater, hm?” Sirius seemed to study you for a moment, and then said, “Yes, I could see you as beater.”
“But do try out. I think you’ll make it.”
“You have me and Sirius’ vote, anyway.” James grinned at you.
“Then why do I need extra practices?” you asked, resting your elbows on the table.
“We have to catch you up.” James answered. “On plays, you know.”
“Is that really it?” you blinked at him.
“Well…your batting needs work.” Sirius added innocently.
“Of course.” you sighed. You really didn’t know anything about sports, but you did feel better now. Was it just because of Sirius and James’ encouragement? The way they suddenly took to you was baffling but hey, you weren’t complaining.
“Are you fellows…um, are you Padfoot, Prongs, and Wormtail?” you asked quietly. Thinking back to the Thursday before the full moon you had remembered the bewitched parchment still closed in your drawer.
Sirius smirked, as if he expected you would figure it out. “I’m Padfoot.”
“I’m Prongs.” James made a small bow. “And Wormtail is Peter.”
“You’re the only person outside the marauders who know those names.” Sirius said.
“I won’t tell anyone.” You held your hand up as if it somehow emphasized your ‘oath.’ “Not even Lily,” you added for good measure.
“All right, class, let’s get started.” the professor announced as she walked up the aisle. She paused next to Sirius, “Mr. Black and Mr. Potter, get to your usual desks,” then continued to the front of the room.
Sirius squeezed your shoulder before removing his arm and walking back to his desk with James.
You were oblivious to Angelique’s stare as you opened your textbook.
x – x – x
Your hair slapped you in the face as a bludger zoomed by, narrowly missing your ear. You readied your bat and turned in the direction it had gone just in time to see it speeding back towards you. If you missed you’d have a broken nose, so you concentrated, aiming your bat just right….
The bludger flew away from you towards the stands.
“Catch it, Sirius!” you heard James call from below. A couple moments later and Sirius took off after it on his broom. The bludger seemed to run from him, but he was finally able to tackle it.
You landed as James and Sirius fought to trap it in the box. “How was that?”
“Excellent.” Sirius said, sounding out of breath. “I say we take a break.” He flopped down in the grass.
“We still need to work on plays.” James said, though he sat down in front of his friend.
“Just a small one then.” Sirius said and James only shrugged.
You sat down, completing the human triangle, and laid your broom behind you.
“So how are things with you and Remus?” James asked you casually.
You were caught completely off guard and fought hard to keep a calm demeanor. “Sa-same as always, why?”
Sirius shrugged. “We thought something might have changed.”
“No.” you looked down at your hands. Did they know about Lily’s lie?
You were somewhat relieved when James announced the end of the break. Too bad the rest of the practice was gonna seem to drag along.
x – x – x
Paranoia was beginning to live unwelcomed in your stomach. It was causing you to act strangely; you were clumsier, you forgot things, and you had a tendency of laughing nervously at everything.
You’d just made a fool of yourself in potions; as you got up to leave the hem of your skirt caught on the chair causing you to fall, dropping everything. Luckily nothing was shown, but you hastily grabbed your things and fled the classroom.
You turned a corner and started down another corridor, heading for the common room.
You turned at the voice, blinking. You smiled some when you saw Remus approaching you.
“Hey, Remus.” you said, turning to face him fully.
“You left this.” he held a book out to you; it was your novel.
“Oh!” You took it from him and hugged the book. “Thank you so much.”
He smiled softly. “You’re welcome.”
You opened your bag and shoved the book inside. How could you have left it?
“Are you all right?” Remus asked after a few moments.
You blinked, looking up at him. “Yes, it wasn’t that bad of a fall.”
“No, I mean, you’ve been acting strange lately.” Remus frowned. “Is something bothering you?”
You swallowed, feeling your heart beat against your ribcage. It was a completely different beat from the full moon. “I guess it’s just Quidditch and all….”
Remus nodded in understanding, not pressing any further. “Lacey, if you ever need to talk, you know you can come to me.” he said shyly.
You smiled, your cheeks heating up with a blush. “Th-thank you, Remus.” You looked up at him and felt your heart drop when you saw Angelique heading straight towards you. You quickly looked down at your watch. “Oh no, I have to go. See you, Remus!” You didn’t wait for an answer. Instead, you turned and hurried down the hall and around the corner.
x – x – x
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